Showing posts from 2014

Talking about rent reform . . .


Paul DeRienzovideo on YouTube NYC Rent Regulation with Councilmember Helen Rosenthal by Paul DeRienzo NYC Councilmember Helen Rosenthal, retired attorney Sue Susman, Tenant activist Khadijah Canns discuss the future of rent regulation.

Repeal vacancy deregulation (also known as vacancy decontrol) and re-regulate apartments deregulated under vacancy deregulation if rents are below a goodly amount.
Close the loopholes that make affordable apartments unaffordable (Major Capital Improvements, Individual Apartment Improvements, preferential rents, illegal fees, and more).
Keep illegal hotels - including AirBnB - from depleting our stock of affordable housing.

2015: Year of the Tenant


City Hall Rally to Strengthen the Rent Laws, which expire in June 2015. Sponsored by Tenants & Neighbors (part of the Tenant Power Alliance), and the Real Rent Reform and other groups. 

Tuesday, Nov. 18 at 10 AM in front of City Hall

AT CITY HALL For more information, contact MacKenzie or 212-608-4320 ext. 301
Click here for a black and white flyer in Word format.
Click here for a color flyer in pdf format.

REBNY $$$ trying to defeat pro-tenant candidates


Michael McKee writes: "All three of the Democratic candidates that the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) is targeting for defeat are pro-tenant, and are priorities for Tenants PAC. "
CRAIN'S INSIDER REBNY jumps into Senate battleShare
Jobs for New York Inc., an outside spending group that poured $8 million into New York City’s 2013 elections, is now poised to help Republicans in the high-stakes battle for the state Senate, records show. . . . .  The treasurer of the new state-level group is William Auerbach, the chief financial officer for the Real Estate Board of New York, which ran the 2013 city-election effort for the real estate industry. On Wednesday, records show, Jobs for New York's city-level committee transferred nearly $9,000 in leftover funds into its new state-level unit.
Senate Republicans, who are struggling to hang on to power in Albany, have pursued policies friendly to the real estate industry, while Democrats are mu…

Stop the "Poor Door"!


Download a petition to stop the Poor Door!
Separate doors and amenities for different classes of tenants are as abhorrent as separate water fountains. 
Our city is great because all walks of life and all social classes rub elbows daily.  We are weakened when social class and the resulting racial and ethnic segregation are imposed by short-sighted developers.
We trust and urge that the new administration, having inspired us with its promise to end the "tale of two cities," will block such segregated developments and ensure a single future for all New Yorkers.  ____
Send the petition to R3 c/o Met Council on Housing, 339 Lafayette St., Suite 301, New York, NY 10012

R3 meeting July 28 - Tenant actions NOW, and preparing for 2015


What: Real Rent Reform Meeting
When: Monday, July 28, 7-9pm
Where: Goddard Riverside Community Center, 593 Columbus Ave (at 88th Street) in Manhattan
For more information, contact Joseph Loonam

For many of us, last month's Rent Guidelines Board final vote was hard to watch. The increase was the lowest in history - but still an increase instead of a rent freeze: 1% increase for one year renewals and 2.75% increase for two year renewals passed.  

It does show the Tenant Movement is alive and well. There's a tough fight ahead - in June of 2015, the rent laws will expire and the tenant movement has a great chance to repeal vacancy deregulation.  

Let's transform the energy directed at this year's RGB fight and direct it towards saving the rent laws!

Fight for a Rent Freeze! Bronx hearing June 12, Manhattan June 16 . . .


Click on "read more" below for the full remaining schedule of Rent Guidelines Board meetings and how to register to testify.

Right to Counsel in Housing Court - 6/11/14 Press Conference



Make 2014 the Year of the Rent Freeze


With a mayor who campaigned for a rent freeze, and with fair-minded appointees now on the RGB, we can make 2014 the year of the Rent Freeze!There has never been a rent freeze before.  For decades, the Rent Guidelines Board has ignored rising rents and housing instability in NYC without consequence.  
Call the Mayor & Deputy Mayor and DEMAND A RENT FREEZE 212-788-3000 (Mayor’s Office) 212-788-8510 (Deputy Mayor’s Office) ____________________________________

Testify at the June 16 Rent Guidelines Board hearing, 2-6 pm, Emigrant Savings Bank Building, 49-51 Chambers St.

and at the FINAL VOTE on June 23  at Cooper Union.

Read Tim Collins' testimony and come to an RGB hearing!



Let's freeze (or roll back) rents this year!


The Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) can vote to roll back or freeze rents for struggling tenants after years of increasing profits for landlords. 

Tenants demanded meetings in every borough - and we got them.  So let's fill those hearing rooms!   Click here for a flyer in English or Spanish.

Roll Back the Rents!


On Thursday, April 24th, Mayor Bill De Blasio named Rachel Godsil as the new chair of the NYC Rent Guidelines Board. This happened just in time to have a full board meeting on Monday.

Mayor de Blasio called for a rent freeze on the campaign trail last year. But we know that 2.5 million tenants have been hit with increase after increase while landlords made money hand over fist, and many New Yorkers can't afford rent right now.

That’s why we’re calling for a RENT ROLLBACK on May 5 when the Rent Guidelines Board has its preliminary vote on rent adjustments for the approximately one million rent stabilized apartments in NYC.

We need heavy turnout if we're going to make an impact on the board. The landlords are expected to be there in force. Help us fill the auditorium and join us for a victory rally after the vote. 

What: RGB Preliminary Vote
When: Monday, May 5, 5pm
Where: US Customs House 1 Bowling Green, Manhattan

Getting there: Click here for map and direct…

News & Actions


R3 groups and allies have been active over the last few weeks on a number of campaigns. Here are a few announcements: if you'd like to see your announcements and press listed here (and we missed them), email us

Three Boro Pool/Predatory Equity is a hot topic thanks to work lead by UHAB, scoring press hits in the NY TimesWSJNY World, and City Limits. (Click on "read more" below for more on predatory equity.)

AirBnBhas received a number of black-eyes in the press thanks to HCC and other allies. HCC slammed AirBnB in the NY Observer, while the Working Families Party, Real Affordability for All campaign, and Met Council piled on with press hits from the NY Times, the NY Daily News, and Channel 7's Eyewitness News.

On Saturday, May 3rd, the Stop Croman Coalition and GOLES are holding anAnti-Gentrification Parade. There will also be a press conference at 12pm(noon) in Tompkins Square Park, at the intersection of E. 7th St…

Real Affordability for All Rally at Noon - Thursday, April 24


Join other tenants and housing advocates on noon on the City Hall Steps.

The Real Affordability for All (RAFA) Campaign will present a housing policy platform to help solve our city's housing crisis. We will release the document on the steps of City Hall,Thursday April 24 at noon. The platform comes one week before the mayor presents his plan to create or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing. It will focus on key issues and opportunities for the city government to increase real affordability in housing for all residents, and help move campaigns that our organizations have worked on for years to preserve affordable housing, end homelessness, and the responsibly develop of affordable housing.
Most would say that it's pretty hard to put together a comprehensive platform in a few weeks, and they would be right. This document is coming together quickly because organizations around the city have been doing this work for decades. Our organizations have the keys to solving the ho…

How NY Can Solve its Affordable Housing Crisis


How NYC Can Solve Its Affordable Housing Crisis
via Stefan Georgi / Flickr By Steve Wishnia How can New York City solve its shortage of affordable housing? Simple: Preserve the cheaper housing we already have, and build new housing that New Yorkers can actually afford. The problem is that the most effective ways the city can do that—strengthening rent regulations and building publicly funded housing—are currently illegal. Click here for the full article. 

Only 5 Affordable Devpts in Bklyn in 4 years (but lots of tax subsidies)


THE REALDEAL  (and see the NY Daily News)
Brooklyn affordability study calls for more below-market units Only 6% of the nearly 4,440 units built were affordable for low and moderate-income households April 03, 2014 12:20PM Only five apartment buildings built in Brooklyn between 2008 and 2012 included below-market-rate units, according to a new report from an affordable housing advocacy group. In those five years, 61 buildings built in the borough will receive a total of $158 million in tax breaks, according to the report, released today by the Real Affordability for All Campaign. Only six percent of the nearly 4,440 units built were affordable for low- and moderate-income households. Click here for the full article.

Mayor Appoints 5 New Members to Rent Guidelines Board


Tenants need a freeze - not an increase - for leases to be renewed for the year beginning October 1, 2014.NY Daily News:  Mayor de Blasio names five to NYC Rent Guidelines Board  
BY  NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Thursday, March 27, 2014, 9:03 AM 

March 27 at 9 AM: RENT FREEZE RALLY at RGB



A Report of Tenant Experiences _____________________________ Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 9 AM sharp! 1 Centre Street (the Municipal Building)    RALLY & PRESS CONFERENCE ______________________________ Join a coalition of city-wide tenants, advocates,  and elected officials at the first meeting of the Rent Guidelines Board as we demand that the Mayor's new Board vote for what all New Yorkers need -  A RENT FREEZE!     Let's make it happen. 

Affordable Housing Advocates Demand Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning


The Epoch Times
Affordable Housing Advocates Call for Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning in NYC

Tenants Oppose Landlord "Schooling"


NY Daily News

Landlord conference that got pulled from Barclays Center after planned protests goes on at Manhattan hotel About 300 property owners and managers gathered for the LandlordsNY symposium on Tuesday at the Roosevelt Hotel on E. 45th St. after the event, which was originally scheduled for Feb. 11, was pulled from the arena. Tenants groups protested outside of Tuesday's event, which featured developer Joseph Sitt as the keynote speaker.Comments (3) BY / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS TUESDAY, MARCH 4, 2014, 6:06 PM,  Read more:

NY Times: Vacancy destabilization depleting affordable apartments


In New York, Push for Market-Rate Housing Pits Landlords Against Tenants - excerptBy Mireya Navarro, Feb. 24. 2014

. . . by far the most common way an apartment becomes market rate, according to data from the Rent Guidelines Board, is when it becomes vacant and the landlord is allowed vacancy- and improvement-related increases that bump the rent to or over the deregulation threshold of $2,500 a month. '
A tightening of state rent laws in 2011 made it more difficult to deregulate an apartment, but there was still a net loss of more than 2,500 rent-stabilized apartments in 2012, the latest year for which statistics have been released by the state. That year saw at least 6,960 apartments added to the stabilized stock, mostly by property owners encouraged by tax incentives. But 9,499 apartments left the system during the same period, 71 percent because of vacancies.

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Last year, the tenant movement made headlines with a report that showed how landlords flood Albany with cash. State leaders have agreed that our elections need reform and that the loophole that allows big real estate to get around our lax laws needs to be closed. New York City is now the homeless capital of the United States. That's because Big Real Estate holds an outsized role in politics. Your organization can make that a reality: join the push. Sign on to the letter to reform elections, and go to Albany for the March 11th lobby day.

The letter is posted below. To sign your organization onto the letter, contact us at


Speaker Sheldon Silver
New York State Assembly
NYS Capitol Albany, New York 

Dear Speaker Silver, As organizations dedicated to working to ensure safe, stable and affordable housing for all New Yorkers, we are depending on you ensure final passage of a robust campaign finance reform package as a part of t…

De Blasio's Housing Appointments


Mayor de Blasio has named heads of the New York City Housing Authority, the Housing and Preservation Department, and the NYC Planning Commission.

Shola Olatoye (top left) is now the NYCHA chair, and was an HSBC Bank vice president. She most recently held the same position at Enterprise Community Partners, a non-profit affordable housing organization.

Vicki Been (bottom left) has been named HPD commissioner. Before the appointment, she was the director of the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Planning. She also has experience as a professor at NYU's Law School, and has a history of promoting environmental justice, studying the relationship between people of color, low-income tenants, and industrial pollution.

Carl Weisbrod (bottom right) now heads the Planning Department. While he was a lawyer who fought on behalf of squatters in the 1970s, Weisbrod was most recently employed by HR&A Advisors who planned the High Line project and the Brooklyn Bridge park. The High Line proje…

Petition & Rally for Rent Freeze in 2014!


IS 2014 THE YEAR TENANTS WIN RENT FREEZE?  Rally on March 27 at the Rent Guidelines Board.  When Bill de Blasio called for a rent freeze, some balked at the idea. At that time, most pundits felt de Blasio's only chance at becoming mayor was to force a run-off in the Democratic primary.
After winning the election in impressive fashion, Mayor Bill de Blasio has reiterated his call for a rent freeze.

But  even the most sympathetic elected official - much like Franklin D. Roosevelt - need to be reminded of how much his constituents care about certain issues. "I agree with you, I want to do it," he once told a group of reformers. "Now go out there and make me do it."

Join a broad push from the tenant movement to make sure Mayor de Blasio does it - sign the petition for a rent freeze for the nearly 2.5 million New Yorkers living in rent stabilized apartments.

And if you haven't already, sign up to get email alerts from the Real Rent Reform campaign. We're organizin…

Nassau County Tenant Rally to Keep Homes


The predominately black and Hispanic residents of the working class enclave in Great Neck in Nassau County have fought for decades to keep their rent stabilized homes. The landlords filed a petition to demolish the building and replace it with luxury condos in 2007.

These tenants aren't out of the woods. Real Rent Reformed helped organize a rally that garnered press attention from Newsday and News12 Long Island: Tenants of an apartment complex in Great Neck rallied today with hopes of holding onto their homes in the face of eviction. Tenants of Academy Gardens, which has 40 rent-stabilized units, say the building's owner is looking to tear it down and replace it with condo units. Some of the tenants have called their apartments home for decades.

Tenants shut down landlord event


TENANTS SHUT DOWN LANDLORD EVENT Amid rumors that nearly 200 angry tenants planned to disrupt the first annual Landlord Symposiumthe Barclays Center decided not to host the event for fear of "bad publicity."

Met Council on Housing, the Fifth Avenue Committee, Make the Road New York, Families United for Racial and Economic Equality, Pratt Area Community Council, Picture the Homeless, Housing Conservation Coordinators, and VOCAL-NY were planning a protest. Once plans of the protest became public, LandlordsNY was told they would have to find another venue.

This shows that people are starting to take the tenant movement seriously again.

Citywide Housing Meeting Wednesday


CITYWIDE HOUSING MEETING WEDNESDAY Everybody knows how bad the Bloomberg years were for our communities. Despite building "affordable housing," our former mayor plunged us into the city’s worst housing crisis with a record number of people sleeping in shelters and paying unsustainable rent burdens. What we do in the near future will determine whether you have to be a millionaire to live in New York City.
Mayor deBlasio has promised a departure from Bloomberg's failed housing policies, but you can be sure that real estate moguls and landlords will do their best to stop him. Let's capitalize on the progressive moment and rebuild the tenant movement to preserve affordable housing, responsibly build new affordable housing, and house the homeless.
Organizations are invited to a meeting hosted by Community Voices Heard, Make the Road NY, Met Council on Housing, NY Communities for Change, and VOCAL-NY.

WHAT: Citywide Housing Meeting
WHEN:Wednesday, January 29, 11am-1pm
WHERE: 25 W …

Arguments Against Rent Regulation Are Vacant of Facts


Read City Limits' article, "Arguments Against Rent Regulation Are Vacant of Facts."

Some say New York could relieve high rents by removing rent regulations. And other people say the world is flat.
By Peter Moskos | Friday, Jan 24, 2014  Interesting excerpt:   "According to 2011 data, 93 percent of rent-stabilized buildings (and 94.5 percent of all residential buildings) turn a profit. The average rent-stabilized building generates a monthlyprofitof $400 per apartment. On top of this most buildings appreciate over time. Nobody is forced to own a rent-stabilized residential building, yet investors continue to buy these buildings. Why? Because rent-stabilized buildings make money. Large residential buildings are often owned by investor groups who care only about profit. If these groups could make more money elsewhere, they would. But it just so happens that New York's large rental buildings—even rent-stabilized—are a fabulous low-risk investment. Of course if rent r…