Friday, December 19, 2014

McKee's articles 12/19/2014

(Tom Waters of the Community Service Society writes: "Note that the Section 8 voucher item is $263 million that NYCHA 'squandered' by not taking it out of the pockets of Section 8 voucher holders.")

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Bill would give lawyers to many tenants in Housing Court

First in the nation - if it passes.  

Council Member Mark Levine has proposed a bill to pay for lawyers in housing court for low-income tenants. 

Currently, 90% of tenants in  Housing Court have no lawyer, while 90% of landlords have one.  Guess who wins.

Ensuring legal representation for what can be a life-changing court decision is crucial, says Council Member Levine.  It makes sense morally and economically:

  • Many families are made homeless by court eviction.
  • Homelessness costs the City an enormous amount (over  $3,000/month for shelter). That doesn't count the obvious costs to those suffering homelessness, including extra travel to get the kids to their regular school and to get to work, mental and physical ailments requiring treatment, and more. 
  • Landlords whose business plan includes trying to evict many tenants at once  may well be dissuaded when they know that the tenants will be represented. 
So paying $2000 for a private lawyer could save the City many thousands of dollars. And it's the right thing to do. 

It would cover those whose incomes do not exceed 125% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). These are the 2014 figures: 
For a family of 1, 125% of the FPL is $14,587.50
For a family of 2, 125% of the FPL is $19,662.50
For a family of 3, 125% of the FPL is $24,737.50
For a family of 4, 125% of the FPL is $34,887.50
About 60% of tenants in Housing Court are within those income levels according to C.M. Levine.

NY Times:  Push to Provide Lawyers in New York City Housing Court Gains Momentum, by Mireya Navarro, Dec. 16, 2014

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sign a petition to repeal vacancy deregulation

Many groups are working together to repeal vacancy deregulation, to reduce or end the bonus landlords get when they re-rent a vacant apartment, to limit Major Capital Improvement increases, and more.  (See the  legislative program.).  Work with those groups, AND  express your individual voice on the matter by clicking here. 

Sign the petition!

Petitioning Governor Andrew Cuomo
Repeal Vacancy Deregulation

Because of vacancy deregulation, New York has lost more affordable housing than it can build in the near future.  Some 90% of apartments taken out of rent control or rent stabilization are deregulated because they are VACANT.  (Only about 5% are deregulated because of the tenant's income.)  In fact, the median income for a rent regulated family in NYC is about $39,000 a year. 
Ending vacancy deregulation will end landlords' incentive to get tenants out - and reduce harassment.  
Ending vacancy deregulation will mean fewer families become homeless.
Passing (2014 legislative numbered) bills A.1858 and S.1167 will mean more affordable, regulated apartments for our children and the 99% of New Yorkers who need it. Regulation protects tenants' rights
  • to a renewal lease at a rate fixed by the Rent Guidelines Board
  • to complain without fear of eviction
  • to have the family members living with them for years get the apartment if the primary tenant leaves.
And under those bills many apartments would be re-regulated.

McKee's articles 12/17/2014: new ML regs, campaign for free lawyers in eviction cases, NYCHA repairs and more

New York Real Estate Blog: HPD adopts new Mitchell-Lama regulations

NYCHA questioned about repair policies, adopts pilot project (several articles below)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Millions March and Prof. Jelani Cobb

millions_march_washington_square_parkProfessor Jelani Cobb, interviewed on the Dec. 12, 2014 Brian Lehrer Show, pointed out the relationship of the police with the black community is part of the larger institutional disservice seen in the lack of affordable housing and poor education. Listen to the show, and come to the 
MillionsMarch Rally in Washington Square Park 
Saturday, Dec. 13 at 2 PM, 

Washington Square Park Blog

Millions March Day of Anger Saturday, December 13th, Starting Point: Washington Square Park 2 p.m.