Wednesday, February 25, 2015

NYC Mayor strongly supports repeal of vacancy decontrol

To tackle the affordable housing crisis, the City and State must work cooperatively.  Even though I know the discussion of the future of rent regulation will occur post-budget, I must emphasize now the importance of renewing and strengthening rental protections that expire this year.

"If they are not renewed and strengthened, many thousands of apartments will become unaffordable.  And many thousands of people will lose their homes.

"I also want to state clearly my belief that we must end vacancy decontrol.  It is a major contributing factor in the loss of rent-protected units in the City.

Click on "read more" for the full text of the rent law part of his speech.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Sign the Petition for Stronger Rent Laws to NYS Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie

The rent laws expire in June, so tell our lawmakers in Albany we need stronger laws to protect and preserve affordable housing. We have already lost hundreds of thousands of rent stabilized and rent controlled units due to weak regulations -- we cannot afford to lose one more.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

New Tenant Harassment Prevention Task Force

The Mayor, NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, NYS Homes & Community Renewal Commissioner (includes DHCR) Darryl Towns, and NYC  HPD Commissioner Vicki Bean announced the creation of a Tenant Harassment Prevention Task Force, to go after landlords who use illegal means to displace tenants.   Their press release and press conference say:

City and State agencies will work together to
  • look for patterns, 
  • pro-actively go after landlords who are repeat offenders,
  • respond to 311 calls and calling in all relevant agencies to inspect jointly and share information,
  • investigate for criminal charges (not just housing court penalties),
  • impose steeper penalties. 
The goal:  Quicker, steeper penalties that will exceed the current "cost of doing business" - and thus discourage unscrupulous landlords from their nefarious deeds. 

Watch it at

Click on "read more" below for a paraphrased recap of the press conference. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Don't subsidize penthouses with our tax money.

 Watch NBC-TV Video, NY Daily News, the Real Deal, WPIX 11
the Observer: Progressives March Against Tax Break for Luxury Developments

By  | 

Progressive rail against the 421-a tax abatement outside One57 today. (Photo: Ross Barkan/New York Observer)
Progressives rail against the 421-a tax abatement outside One57 today. (Photo: Ross Barkan/New York Observer)
EXCERPT: "The tax abatement, known as 421-a, offers tax exemptions for developers that build multifamily housing in the city. Critics from groups like New York Communities for Change, Make the Road New York and Vocal New York charge that the tax break, created in the 1970s to spur development at a time when the city’s fiscal health was waning, is antiquated, allowing powerful developers to reap millions in tax breaks while creating housing exclusively for the wealthy."

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

421-a - Tax break for billionaires, resulting in few affordable apartments

Jenny Akshin of Met Council on Housing has written a terrific blog post:

The True Cost of 421-A, noting that with the $1.1 Billion lost to 421-a tax abatements for luxury housing in fiscal year 2013/2014, New York City could have:

  • made up for NYCHA’s deficits in FY2014, or
  • built (at least) 13 high-quality multi-family rental buildings, for over 1500 units of truly affordable housing, or
  • doubled the number of vouchers available through the Section 8 Program

Monday, February 16, 2015

Sign the petition to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie

From the Real Rent Reform Campaign:  R3 just launched an online petition thanking New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie for declaring that stronger rent protection laws are his number one priority. The petition tells him that tenants are behind him in this fight. Because the State Senate is controlled by the Republicans, and with only lukewarm support from the Governor, strong action by the Speaker is what we must have to increase our chances of winning real pro-tenant reforms when the rent laws are renewed in June.

Please sign the petition and forward to your friends, neighbors, colleagues and members.

For more information:

Yonah Lieberman, Community Organizer - and facilitator for the R3 Campaign
Met Council on Housing
w | 212-979-6238 ex. 207
c | 347-327-3236

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

De Blasio & Heastie fighting for unspecified "stronger" rent laws

Gothamist article on new Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie's statement: 

NYC's Top Democrat In Albany: Rent Regulation Is "Our No. 1 Priority"


Seven of Governor Cuomo's top ten campaign donors are connected to real estate (the corruption commission dissolved by the governor found that developers funneled money to our chief executive through an LLC loophole). The head of the real estate lobby, whose name came up in the corruption commission's findings, recently copped to being "braggy" about donating to a tide of winning candidates.