Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Altman case (codified by June 2015 law) could mean apartments get re-regulated!!!!

Brick Underground


Monday, September 14, 2015

Tenants PAC fundraiser: Friday, Sept. 18 on W. 48th St.

It's time to get Back to Work for the Future!!

Come to the TENANTS PAC FUNDRAISER on Friday, Sept. 18, 2015 from 6:30-9 PM at Local 802, American Federation of Musicians, 322 W. 48th St. (between 8th & 9th Aves.)

Honoring 10 elected officials who participated in civil disobedience in Albany for stronger rent laws.

Jazz!!! courtesy of Local 802.


Saturday, September 12, 2015

3 New Laws to Make it Harder for Owner to Harass You Out of Your Apartment

(Photo: Tarika Roongsri in Bedford+Bowery)
Mayor de Blasio has signed into law 3 new laws that make it harder for landlords to pressure tenants out:
· Intro. 757-A, sponsored by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, makes it unlawful for an owner to make a buyout offer within 180 days of a tenant explicitly refusing one.
· Intro. 682-A, sponsored by Council Member Dan Garodnick, makes it unlawful for an owner, in connection with a buyout offer, to threaten a tenant, to contact tenants at odd hours, or to provide false information to a tenant.
· Intro. 700-A, sponsored by Council Member Jumaane Williams, makes it unlawful for an owner to make a buyout offer without informing tenants of their right to stay in their apartment, to seek an attorney’s advice, and to decline any future contact on a buyout offer for 180 days.

NO affordable homes in NYC for those making the minimum wage

NY Daily News
The NY Daily News reports a recent study by StreetEasy Research showing there is absolutely NO housing in NYC that a household with one minimum wage earner can afford.  The Daily News reports "affordable" as 40% of income - although the federal government and NYC generally use 30% of income, and in earlier periods, 25% was considered "affordable."

Key change to de-regulation - so far with court support

 , New York Law Journal
EXCERPT:  In their summary of the new rent laws, "Noteworthy Changes Enacted by the Rent Act of 2015," (NYLJ, July 1), Warren Estis and Jeffrey Turkel missed what is probably one of the most significant changes to rent stabilization almost 20-years. The new law provides that a rent stabilized apartment cannot be deregulated unless the prior tenant's legal regulated rent is $2,700.  . . . This momentous change will hopefully slow the tide of deregulation and lessen the incidents of tenant harassment.
David Hershey-Webb
The author is a partner at Himmelstein, McConnell, Gribben, Donoghue & Joseph

Landlord tactics (real and presumed) to oust tenants

Despite being taken to task (too mildly to make a difference, it seems), some landlords persist in working with "tenant relocators" or taking other moves whose result would be to oust tenants.  Some rent examples:
1. A tenant relocator in East Harlem
2. Sealed windows and air conditioners for a year in a building "wrapped" during renovations.
3. Possibly using police impersonators to ask tenants about their primary residence and roommates. (There's no clear evidence that this was on behalf of the landlord - but who else would be curious about rental status of separate tenants in the same building?)

Five myths about public housing - and plan to build MARKET-RATE apartments in two developments.

Check out Five Myths About Public Housing, including: People want to live there, even though the lack of government funding has led to run-down buildings.

Mayor de Blasio plans to build hundreds of market-rate apartments in two NYCHA developments to help pay for their upkeep and renewal. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

NYC was shortchanged under 421-A - NY Post

NY Post  Excerpt

The city was shortchanged on the number of affordable apartments created under the 421-a property-tax abatement that state lawmakers gave the developer of the luxury Midtown residential tower One57, according to a report issued Tuesday.
The Independent Budget Office found that the $65.6 million in taxes forgiven to One57 over a decade could have produced roughly five times the 66 units created under the subsidy.
Paying affordable-housing developers directly would have garnered the city as many as 367 units with the same amount of money, while a separate program that gives nonprofits tax breaks to operate low-rent housing could have yielded 320 units, the analysis found.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Key change in 2015 Albany law can slow deregulation

Tucked into Albany's renewal of the rent laws is a new provision, described by the
(landlords') Rent Stabilization Association:

"For high-rent vacancy deregulations based upon the new threshold, deregulation will be based upon whether the legal regulated rent for the prior tenant was more than $2,700. Please note that this change does NOT affect prior deregulations which were based upon the legal regulated rent of the new tenant."  

What it means:  

Up to now, the last tenant in an apartment that became vacant could have been paying $1800 - but the landlord then "improved" the apartment raising the rent to the de-regulation amount ($2500 before June 15, 2015).  Once it was up to that amount, the owner took it out of rent regulation permanently and rented it for whatever the market would bear - sometimes $4000 or more.

The change is that to de-regulate the apartment under the new law, the LAST TENANT in that apartment when it was rent stabilized must have been paying at least $2700 a month. The improvements that the owner puts may raise the rent, but they will NOT result in de-regulating the apartment.  (How this will actually work is not clear.  Consult your tenant association's attorney!)  

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Losses to Rent Regulation from 2007 to 2014

Whither Rent Regulation   - Excerpted from a blog by John Krauss


Buildings that are 100% stabilized look the same on [DHCR's] list as buildings with just one apartment left in the program.
The secrecy blanketing the stabilization program . . .  provides cover for landlords who fail to tell the state (register) their stabilized apartments. Registration is voluntary — another loophole in the law — and failure to do so could be an indication that they are overcharging their tenants.
If a landlord doesn’t like charging the legal rent, they can simply “forget” to register. It’s up to the tenant to take them to court to comply.


. . . Remarkably, the number of stabilized apartments in each building over the last seven years is hidden in plain sight, in property tax bills. With help from a few civic hackers, I built, a collection of every tax bill going back to 2008 for every building that might be stabilized in New York Cit

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tenants won an RGB Rent Freeze for 1-year renewals (2% increase for 2-year renewals)

New York City Board Votes to Freeze Regulated Rents on One-Year Leases - NY Times

Tenants chanted before the city’s Rent Guidelines Board voted on Monday at the Great Hall at Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in Manhattan.
The board that regulates rents for more than one million rent-stabilized apartments in New York City voted on Monday night for a freeze on one-year leases, an unprecedented move in its 46-year history.

The 7-to-2 vote by the city’s Rent Guidelines Board was an acknowledgment of the precarious situation of many tenants whose incomes have not kept pace with housing costs. It also was the first decision on rent levels by a nine-member board appointed in its entirety by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The board, one of the few tools the mayor has to directly influence the cost of housing in the city, also voted to increase rents on two-year leases by 2 percent, a historic low.
The mayor refrained from publicly calling for a rent freeze as he had done last year. But his housing plan aims at building new affordable housing while staving off the loss of existing affordable units — either through rent increases or the removal of stabilized apartments from regulation.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Tenants betrayed.

Cuomo fails tenants again as Assembly is left without a Democratic partner in rent law negotiations.

Sweetheart deal for landlords will hurt working families; eliminate nearly 
90,000 units of affordable housing.

(Albany)  Despite the hope of millions of rent-regulated tenants that Albany would finally stand up to the corrupting influence of landlord money, today’s passage of the Cuomo/Flanagan proposal on pro-landlord rent laws deal proves that Albany is just as dysfunctional and money-driven as ever.  The Assembly, whom many housing advocates had hoped would be a bulwark against further loss of affordable housing, apparently caved in when it became clear that the Governor and Republican Senate would not yield to tenants’ interest.

The announcement of this sweetheart deal for landlords and developers is sure to further erode Governor Cuomo’s already low support from voters in New York, as tenants in New York City and the downstate suburbs learn that he has betrayed them once again for his deep-pocketed friends in the real estate industry.  Cuomo is the largest single recipient of money from Glenwood Management’s Leonard Litwin, the billionaire developer at the heart of the arrests and indictments of Former Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Majority Leader Dean Skelos.

“Preet, get your staff ready, because this smells like a whole new busload of corruption pulling into Albany,” said Ava Farkas, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Counicl on Housing.  “This deal is a sell out and a betrayal by a Governor who ran as a Democrat and promised to stand up for tenants, but governs as a pro-corporate Republican who’s only looking out for the millionaires and billionaires who fund his campaign,.”

The “deal” will extend New York’s corrupt rent laws by four years, guaranteeing a further erosion of affordable housing in New York City and the downstate suburbs.  It will make a meaningless increase in the deregulation threshold to $2700, while doing nothing to stop landlord harassment and forced evictions of low income tenants.  And it makes cosmetic changes to the MCI rules, one of the loopholes landlords use to jack up rents and force tenants out.

“We had hoped that the Assembly would stand stronger for tenants and be able to win real reforms.  But without a Democratic partner in the closed-door negotiations, they caved in.  We are disappointed, but unfortunately not surprised,” continued Farkas.  “Money and corruption won, and tenants and working families lost because of the nearly 90,000 affordable homes being eliminated because of Governor Cuomo.  That’s his tarnished legacy. “

Click on "read more" to see what Cuomo claimed was achieved and what tenants are actually getting - and not getting.  

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tell Cuomo to go back to the drawing board.

The Albany deal on the rent laws will lead to 87,500 apartments being deregulated.
Call Gov. Cuomo at 518 474-8390 or 212 681-4580 and tell him to go back to the drawing board and come up with a deal that protects tenants.
June 23rd, 2015Albany Close to Deal on Rent Regulation - How Does the Reported “Framework” Affect Neighborhoods? Thomas J. Waters Tweet The New York...

Tentative rent law deal doesn't do much for tenants. Tell Cuomo!

The rent deal proposed by Gov. Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Heastie, and Senate Majority Leader Flanagan does very little for tenants.  If you want more, contact Gov. Cuomo, our State Senator Bill Perkins and our Assembly Member Daniel O'Donnell to vote NO on the "conceptual deal."

What tenants need
What Cuomo is offering
Vacancy deregulation
(motivating landlords to oust regulated tenants, losing affordable apartments forever)

Repeal of vacancy deregulation
Rent at which vacant apartments can be de-regulated goes up from $2500 to $2700. That amount is indexed to the RGB annual percentage change, if any. 
MCI and IAI increases
Major Capital Improvement and Individual Apartment Improvement rent increases (now permanent)
Limit the increases to end when the cost of the improvement has been re-paid.

Reduce the permanent increase by 1/3.
Vacancy bonus
Right now, landlords get a 20% rent increase just because an apartment has become vacant. That motivates them to kick out tenants to get to the vacancy decontrol threshold.

Cut the bonus.

No change
Rent law renewal term
As long as vacancy deregulation is in effect, we’re losing affordable apartments.

One year renewal

Four years
Preferential rent
Tenants renting at below the legal regulated rent (LRR) can be hit with LRR increases on lease renewal.

Close the loophole

No change

Tenants in Albany keep pressure on Gov. Cuomo. Call him now!

CALL or EMAIL the GOVERNOR: 518-474-8390, ext. 3.
Tell him: 
I'm a tenant, and I need you to repeal vacancy deregulation, cap improvement increases, cut vacancy bonuses, and end preferential rent loopholes.  I rely on your action NOW. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Keep the pressure on Gov. Cuomo. Don't let up now!

Governor Cuomo is happy to blame the State Senate and even the Assembly for the failure to renew and strengthen the rent laws so far.  (Even the landlords want them renewed;  the tenants want them strengthened.)  Click on the image for the text. 

518-474-8390 ext. 3, and email 
(even if you've done it recently).

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Actions until we get reform!

Monday 6/22, 11AM: Protest at Glenwood Management Offices.
Gather at Zuccotti Park (and march to offices at 10 Liberty Place

Monday night 6/22 - Sleep-Out in Albany 
Transportation leaving from NYC at 6PM

Tuesday 6/23 - Bus to Protest in Albany
Buses leaving NYC at 7AM and returning 7PM

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Temporary rent law extension to Tuesday, June 23, 2015

NY Daily News

State Senate poised to back 5-day rent regulations extension


The state Senate was poised to back a temporary five-day extension of the expired city rent regulation laws, two GOP senators said Thursday night.

Protest Cuomo tonight (Thursday, June 18) at ritzy Plaza Hotel fundraiser, 6 PM


Gov. Cuomo has scheduled a fundraising dinner for $2,500/plate tonight at 6 PM, but he hasn't penciled in when to renew and strengthen the rent laws.

Join him - outside - to let him know we need him to stand up for tenants NOW.

(5th Ave., 59th/60th Streets)