Showing posts from April, 2012

Tenants General Assembly - Tuesday, May 1st at 5:00


Join Occupy Wall Street  for a Tenants General Assembly outside the Rent Guidelines Board.  The RGB willl be holding its preliminary vote inside as tenants tell their stories outside.
(There will be no testimony inside the hall - but you can go in to join the chanting.)

Bring your neighbor! 
Time: 5:00 PM 
Place: OutsideCooper Union's Great Hall 

Click here for a flyer.

Rents Outpacing Incomes says Comm. Service Society


Tom Waters and Victor Bach, Housing Policy Analysts of the Community Service Society testified before the 2012 Rent Guidelines Board.

Among other points:

Rents have soared 31% over the past 6 years.Rent increases have vastly outpaced net incomes for the typical renter.By 2011, 51% of low-income renters were paying at least half their incomes in rent.Read the full testimony!

Report on Tenants PAC 's April 27 fundraiser


At last evening's Tenants PAC's gathering,  a host of friends (including some folks who became friends at the event) greeted Assembly Member George Latimer - now running for State Senate in a hard Westchester district against a GOP NYC landlord.

The food was plentiful,  the music great, and the politicians progressive.  And that's the most important point that
Anderson Fils-Aime of Tenants PAC, and Senators Gustavo Rivera and Liz Krueger and candidate Latimer made:  New York City represents about 40% of the state legislators. The other 60% (including Latimer) make the difference for passing pro-tenant legislation.

We need solidly progressive candidates - unlike Pedro Espada (replaced by Gustavo Rivera) and a few others - to constitute the Democratic majority in the State Senate.  Without them, it's hard to pass good legislation.  
So even if you missed the party, please contribute to support the candidacy of George Latimer and other pro-tenant electeds:
(1) Send a check to …

May 1st - Occupy the Rent Guidelines Board


This Friday, come to the Tenants PAC fundraiser.
And this May Day:
OCCUPY the RGB!The Rent Guidelines Board's Preliminary Hearing is
May 1 at 5:00 PM
at Cooper Union's Great Hall 7 East 7th Street (at 3rd Ave.)  Manhattan Tenants from around New York City are coming together for a Tenants’ General Assembly. Share your stories. Testify about rent increases. Show the Rent Guidelines Board what democracy looks like.  And tenants are also encouraged to testify inside!
Click here for one version of the flyer in English  and in Spanish   A second version is available for download here.  

US Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Harmon Case!



We welcome today's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court not to review the Harmon v Kimmel case. 

From the beginning, this misguided case was based in a flawed legal interpretation of the Constitution, yet still represented a very real threat to New York's ability to continue to maintain viable working and middle class housing in a city often defined by wealth. 

Millions of New Yorkers depend on rent regulation for dependable, affordable housing, and the city depends on rent regulation to maintain stable neighborhoods and strong communities.  Rent regulated New Yorkers have a median income of just $37,000, and a court-ordered elimination of rent regulations would have immediately placed their ability to stay in the homes in danger.

Further, the Harmons' attempt to upend rent regulations w…

Tenants PAC Fundraiser & Live Jazz - Fri., April 27


You can meetAssembly Member George Latimer at Friday's event.  He will be running for  an open State Senate seat against a Republican New York City  landlord.  

Help Tenants PAC raise the maximum to  support A.M. Latimer and other pro-tenant candidates!
Buffet dinner and great jazz!Time: 7 PM
Place: Musician's Union, Local 802, 322 West 48th St. (between 8th and 9th Avenues) in Manhattan

Click here for the flyer to post in your building

You can send your contribution to 

Tenants PAC  277 Broadway, Suite 608 New York NY 10007
Or you can make contributions (including recurring ones) at Donations are not tax deductible.
RSVPs requested but not necessary!
Email RSVPs to or call (212) 577-7001.

Great Rally for Rent Controlled Tenants


On April 20, 2012, rent controlled tenants, their advocates - led by Tenants & Neighbors and the Real Rent Reform Campaign - and neighbors formed a large semi-circle in front of  Goddard-Riverside's senior center to push for passage of A1892-A/S5699.  Tenants spoke, sang,* and applauded the bill, its sponsors, and all those working for it.  Click here for a video of some of the rally. 

Rent controlled tenants now get an automatic rent increase of 7.5% - plus fuel cost increases and all those increases of other rent-regulated tenants like permanent Major Capital Improvements (MCIs) and landlord hardship increases (if the owner is making under about 8% profit per year). The original purpose was to raise rent controlled rents to the same level as rent stabilized rents - but now they're rising higher: their rents have gone up almost 6 times in the same period that rent stabilized rents have doubled.  

A1892-A/S5699  would get rid of the automatic incre…

Telling Statistics About Rent Regulation


New York City needs rent regulation for affordability, diversity, and strong communities!

According to the Furman Center's recent statistics on rent-regulated tenants,
About 47% of apartments in New York City were rent regulated (stabilized or controlled) in 2011.               Most of these apartments are outside Manhattan's core.
The median income of rent-regulated tenants is lower than that of their neighbors. More of the regulated tenants are elderly and have lived in their homes significantly longer than market-rate tenants.   Rent-regulated tenants pay a higher percent of their income in rent than do market-rate tenants - well over 30% (the HUD standard of  a "reasonable" percentage to pay). Rent regulated tenants more ethnically diverse than market-rate tenants. Apartments are being de-regulated at a rapid rate:   Even though many owners chose to regulate their newly-built apartments (for tax benefits) in the twenty years since 1981, there were 200,000 fewer un…

Harmon & RGB reform in one article


Rent Board reform push as Supreme Court delays decision on taking challenge Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 10:06 AM CDT BY ANDY HUMM 
The U.S. Supreme Court put off, until at least April 23, a decision on whether to hear a constitutional challenge to New York City’s longstanding rent regulations.

While the prospect of a complete end to rent protections has tenants on edge and landlords salivating at the prospect of 1.1 million deregulated apartments, tenant activists and their supporters in government are plowing ahead with a proposal to reform the City’s Rent Guidelines Board — but not in time to affect the setting of this year’s annual rent hikes. That process begins with a preliminary vote on May 1 at Cooper Union (last year, the board voted 3.75 percent increases on one-year leases and 7.25 percent for two-year leases).

All nine members of the board are appointed by the mayor. The proposed state bill would not change that but would make the mayor get City Council approval…

Silver & Vito Lopez Support R3 Bills - Press Conference


R3 tenants in Albany as Speaker Silver and Housing Committee Chair Vito Lopez speak 
News Release Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver
CONTACT: Michael Whyland
Press Secretary
(518) 455-3888 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 18, 2012
Assembly Announces Measures to Further  Strengthen
Rent Protections 
for Hardworking New Yorkers
Calls on DHCR to Swiftly Enact Strong Rules and Regulations
Outlined in 2011 Rent Agreement

Proposals Will Help Ensure the Economic Security of More than
a Million Households and Stabilize Neighborhoods

Building on last year's success in strengthening the state's rent laws for the first time in nearly
two decades, New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Housing Committee
Chairman Vito Lopez today announced a package of bills to further expand tenant protections
to ensure that everyone has access to decent and affordable housing.

They also called on Governor Cuomo and the state Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) to swiftly enact rule…

The Facts Behind the Harmon Case and the U.S. Supreme Court


Mr. Harmon and his “hardship”
James Harmon’s grandparents bought the brownstone in question in 1949 for $41,000. At the time of the initial purchase, all of the apartments were subject to the old rent control law.

The brownstone is now worth at least $3 million. Since 1949 its value has risen 25 percent faster than the stock market, more than twice the increase in median home prices nationwide, and more than nine times faster than the general cost of living.
The brownstone currently contains three rent-stabilized apartments and three unregulated apartments. In addition, Mr. and Mrs. Harmon live in a spacious apartment.
In 2005 Mr. Harmon bought out his brother’s interest in the property for $1.5 million. At the time of this purchase, three of the units were rent-stabilized, which Mr. Harmon, as co-owner, certainly knew.
Who is being subsidized?
Mr. Harmon’s petition to the U.S. Supreme Court claims that rent regulations force him “subsidize” his rent-stabilized tenants who he says pay 5…

Supporters of RGB Reform on City Hall Steps


Tenants thronged R3's press conference with Senator Daniel Squadron, and Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, sponsors of A06394/S0741, and many other elected officials (see fuller list below!)
On Monday, April 16, 2012, the Real Rent Reform campaign gathered with community leaders and elected allies to speak out about the urgent need for Rent Guidelines Boardreform. R3 stood on the steps of City Hall to support S741A A6394B, a piece of legislation sponsored by Brian Kavanagh in the Assembly and Daniel Squadron in the Senate. This bill would require City Council confirmation of the Mayor’s appointees to the RGB, bringing necessary checks and balances to the system and making the appointment process more democratic.   Click on the links to see reports by:  New York Post,  New York 1,  CBS,New York Observer, andWFUV.

The bill would also make more New Yorkers eligible to serve as public members and ensure that diversified views are represented on the RGB by including new professions amo…

Join us at these events


Join the Real Rent Reform Campaign at upcoming events to call for tenant rights and protections!

RGB Reform Rally and Press Conference Monday, April 16 City Hall 10:45 AM Join tenants, elected officials, and allies at a press conference calling for Rent Guidelines Board reform: make the RGB more accountable!
Tenant Mobilization in Albany Wednesday, April 18 Meet at Tenants & Neighbors office (236 W. 27th Street) Depart 8 AM, return by early evening Join us in Albany to celebrate the passage of five bills through the Assembly Housing Committee.
Rent Control Rally Friday, April 20 GoddardRiversideSeniorCenter 593 Columbus at 88th Street 11:30 AM Rally with rent control tenants and allies in support of bills A1892/S5699 to protect rent controlled tenants from unaffordable rent increases.
Preliminary RGB Vote Rally Tuesday, May 1 7 E. 7th Street 5 PM Join tenants and allies to rally outside the Rent Guidelines Board’s preliminary vote, and demand that the RGB be held accountable to tenants.   Click her…

Supreme Court unlikely to overturn rent laws


Quoting the New York Law Journal,  the Real Deal says that landlord Harmon is unlikely to get the Supreme Court to overturn rent regulation in New York.

Supreme Court unlikely to sympathize with UWS landlord fighting rent-stabilization
January 04, 2012 09:00AM Though courts on all levels have routinely upheld rent stabilization laws, and despite the fact that his own case has been dismissed by two state courts, James Harmon has caught the attention of the U.S. Supreme Court in his bid to fight the regulations. But according to the New York Law Journal, Harmon isn’t any more likely to win his case than previous challengers – even after the Supreme Court requested the city file a response explaining the courts’ aforementioned dismissals.   Click here for the rest of the article.  (The NY Law Journal article is only available by subscription.)
The NY Law Journal cited tenant attorneys Timothy Collins, former executive director of the Rent Guidelines Board, and William Gribben, and landlord …