Tenants to Sen. Jeff Klein: Stick with the Democrats


State Sen. Jeff Klein
BRONX Times Reporter


Welcome Jeff Klein  

Dear editor,

Because of redistricting, the tenants at Janel Towers have a new state Senator, Jeff Klein.

We were ecstatic when we learned the day after the Nov. 6 election that the Democrats were on the verge of reclaiming the majority in the state Senate. For the last two decades the state Senate Republicans have done the bidding of the New York City real estate lobby, forcing through amendments that have drastically weakened the rent stabilization laws.

The Janel Towers Tenants Association represents 229 working class families. We have been fighting to keep our homes affordable since our landlord bought out of the Mitchell-Lama program in 2006.

Although we are currently rent stabilized, loopholes in the rent laws have resulted in huge financial burdens.  At least 32 families have been deregulated and are paying market rents.
Other tenants are paying exorbitant stabilized rents.

We have been hit with two major capital improvement rent increases in the past two years, which are compounded with the additional increases we pay every time our leases come up for renewal.

Unfortunately, the experience in our building is no different than most other buildings in the city and suburban counties covered by the rent laws.

As a member organization of the Real Rent Reform  Campaign,  we  have been  fighting  to strengthen our rent laws to protect our tenants and keep our homes affordable.

We realize that a Democrat majority in the state Senate is essential in order to get these reforms passed. 

When we read that our new state senator, Jeff Klein, a Democrat, might side with the Republicans and allow the GOP to keep control of the Senate even if the Democrats have a numerical majority, we were very angry.

Such a move would guarantee that the landlords continue to get their way in Albany.

We call on our representative in the state Senate to do the right thing. Senator Klein, if you care about tenants, and if you want to preserve  affordable  housing,  this  will  be  an  easy decision for you.  Don’t align yourself with the Republicans who have done so much damage
to rent stabilization, and who will make sure that no pro-tenant reforms get enacted.

The lives of Janel Towers tenants along with millions of other renting families will be affected by your decision.

Whether or not we can continue to afford to stay in our homes is up to you.

Barry Soltz, legal coordinator and tenant organizer
Janel Towers Tenants Association.