Showing posts from February, 2014

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.