New York’s rent regulations expiration next Saturday, June 15th. Tenants and members of the Upstate Downstate Housing Alliance from across the state, demand New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state legislators pass universal rent control legislation that would strengthen and expand tenants rights across the state of New York before rent laws expire.
Nine bills have been introduced in the State Senate and Assembly to address what activists call "loopholes". The platform incorporates several interconnected pieces of legislation, the each strengthening renters’ rights. The pieces of legislation that make up Universal Rent Control would affect both New York City and the rest of the state in various ways.
Reforming the current rent laws, advocates argue, will stanch the loss of rent-stabilized apartments, and ultimately keep more New Yorkers in their homes.
But, landlords are issuing a warning that certain rent reforms on track to be approved by Democrats in the state legislature could cost the city billions. Rather than amend the rent laws to protect tenants only, The RSA, rent stabilization association, which represents 25,000 landlords is calling on State Legislators to consider 'responsible rent reform', or reform that will protect both tenants and owners of rent-stabilized apartments. Additionally, they claim that without major capital improvement (MCI) and individual apartment improvement (IAI) work, local businesses, who employ thousands of City residents, would lose an incredible amount of work. IAI, individual apartment improvement are usually done when a unit is vacant, and MCIs the existing [MCI] program, which has been in place in the city since the 1970s, both allow landlords to raise the rent. For example with MCI, if your landlord puts in new boiler in the building he can charge 6% percent every year to recoup the cost of the work carried out on their buildings. Tenant advocates say this only leads to abuse, for example New York Times exposé last fall about President Donald Trump’s finances found the Trumps used the MCI program to raise the rents in rent-stabilized buildings they owned in the outer boroughs—but in many cases, those increases were based on falsified information.
On the website responsible rent control the landlord group claims the MCI program has significantly improved the quality of the city’s rental housing stock. Since 1991, the percentage of renter-occupied units with severe maintenance deficiencies has been cut in half, according to the 2017 Housing and Vacancy Survey.
Watch #RepresentNYC to hear from Assembly Member Harvey Epstein who is joined by Marcela Mitaynes from Neighbors Helping Neighbors and Caitlin Shann from Metropolitan Council on Housing to discuss these bills, #AffordableHousing and #TenantRights.
Find out more by read their legislative platform here.
Photo Credit: Hans Pennink/AP