Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tenants win RENT FREEZE from RGB: NO increase for 1-year lease renewal; 2% for 2-year lease renewal

NY Times

New York City Board Votes to Freeze Regulated Rents on One-Year Leases

Tenants chanted before the city’s Rent Guidelines Board voted on Monday at the Great Hall at Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in Manhattan.

The board that regulates rents for more than one million rent-stabilized apartments in New York City voted on Monday night for a freeze on one-year leases, an unprecedented move in its 46-year history.

The 7-to-2 vote by the city’s Rent Guidelines Board was an acknowledgment of the precarious situation of many tenants whose incomes have not kept pace with housing costs. It also was the first decision on rent levels by a nine-member board appointed in its entirety by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The board, one of the few tools the mayor has to directly influence the cost of housing in the city, also voted to increase rents on two-year leases by 2 percent, a historic low.
The mayor refrained from publicly calling for a rent freeze as he had done last year. But his housing plan aims at building new affordable housing while staving off the loss of existing affordable units — either through rent increases or the removal of stabilized apartments from regulation.

McKee's media 6/30/2015


New York Times: Will the NYC rent board vote to freeze or roll back rents this evening?

Daily News: Democrats will revisit rent laws in 2017 if they take control of state senate next year

New York Post: Despite claims he tried to help tenants, Cuomo sided with GOP leader in negotiations

Daily News: Cuomo calls Big Ugly “best rent reform package in history”

New York Times editorial: U.S. Supreme Court upholds “disparate impact” provisions of Fair Housing Act

New York Times editorial: Enforcement of U.S. Fair Housing Act essential to counter increasing racial segregation

Steve Wishnia on Cuomo’s failure to stop the loss of affordable housing (Gothamist)

City & State: Assembly Dems happy with Heastie’s style despite disappointing rent deal

Daily News: NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer slams Albany for lousy rent deal

City & State on the Big Ugly bill that renewed rent & coop laws for four years

New York Observer: Schneiderman slams Albany for failure to enact ethics, campaign finance reforms

Wall Street Journal: Tainted by scandal, real estate lobby nevertheless retains it clout in Albany

Daily News: 126 elected officials push wage board for $15 minimum wage for fast food workers

Crain’s Insider: De Blasio wins tweaks to 421-a program

Capital New York: Newly empowered by Albany’s Big Ugly bill, Cuomo officiates at same-gender wedding

City & State: Last Week’s Winners & Losers

Journal News: How Senators & Assembly members voted on the Big Ugly

Daily News: Cuomo’s partner Sandra Lee might require additional surgery

Crain’s Insider: Big Ugly renews tax breaks for lower Manhattan businesses

Bob Hardt: Cuomo should stop the “anonymous” attacks on de Blasio (New York 1 News)

New York Post: City budget increases City Council member item spending to $57 million

New York Times: Sampson threatened to “take out” cooperating witnesses against him

The Real Deal: Will NYC’s uber-luxury condo bubble burst?

Gothamist: Map shows how Airbnb has transformed your neighborhood

Big City: Stonewall Inn landmarked for historical significance, not for architecture (New York Times)

Michael McKee

Tenants Political Action Committee

McKee's media 6/29/2015


Gothamist: Tenants protest Andrew Cuomo’s rotten rent deal

New York Observer: Jumaane Williams joins tenants in blasting Andrew Cuomo

Buffalo News: Final Big Ugly bill still tentative as Assembly Dems seek stronger rent protections

Capital New York: Assembly Dems seek improvements to “framework” deal

Capital New York: Heastie says the framework is not a final deal

Community Service Society: How new rent deal will affect neighborhoods

Capital Tonight: Ava Farkas & Judith Goldiner interviewed on Capital Tonight (VIDEO)

New York Observer: De Blasio does not want to talk about Albany, until it’s done

Albany Times Union: Cuomo says $250M for private schools is new; Cardinal says state has owed $$ for several years

Capital New York: Worried about support among Dems, Cuomo makes a phone call

New York Times: Public housing apartments sit empty, sometimes for years

New York Post: Sampson claims entrapment as his corruption trial begins

Albany Times Union: Both houses hold sales tax extensions hostage

Crain’s Insider: Sunset clauses create periodic chaos in Albany

New York Times: Acrimony between Cuomo & de Blasio made session anemic

Gotham Gazette on Albany dysfunction & end-of-session maneuvers

State of Politics: NAACP calls for changes in property tax cap

New York Post: Pedro Espada still in prison as court upholds his conviction

Crain’s editorial: As Cuomo’s power wanes. Albany returns to the bad old days

WNYC/City Limits: NYC’s water supply (where it comes from, why it is so expensive)

Michael McKee
Tenants Political Action Committee

Tenants won RGB Rent Freeze! 1 year renewal: NO INCREASE. 2 year renewal: 2% increase

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tentative rent law deal doesn't do much for tenants

The rent deal proposed by Gov. Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Heastie, and Senate Majority Leader Flanagan does very little for tenants.  If you want more, contact Gov. Cuomo, our State Senator Bill Perkins and our Assembly Member Daniel O'Donnell to vote NO on the "conceptual deal."

What tenants need
What Cuomo is offering
Vacancy deregulation
(motivating landlords to oust regulated tenants, losing affordable apartments forever)

Repeal of vacancy deregulation
Rent at which vacant apartments can be de-regulated goes up from $2500 to $2700. 
MCI and IAI increases
Major Capital Improvement and Individual Apartment Improvement rent increases (now permanent)
Limit the increases to end when the cost of the improvement has been re-paid.

Reduce the permanent increase by 1/3.
Vacancy bonus
Right now, landlords get a 20% rent increase just because an apartment has become vacant. That motivates them to kick out tenants to get to the vacancy decontrol threshold.

Cut the bonus.

No change
Rent law renewal term
As long as vacancy deregulation is in effect, we’re losing affordable apartments.

One year renewal

Four years
Preferential rent
Tenants renting at below the legal regulated rent (LRR) can be hit with LRR increases on lease renewal.

Close the loophole

No change

Monday, June 22, 2015

Michael McKee's media collection June 17, 2015

State of Politics: Keith Wright introduces eight-month extender of rent laws

Keep the pressure on Gov. Cuomo. Don't let up now!

Governor Cuomo is happy to blame the State Senate and even the Assembly for the failure to renew and strengthen the rent laws so far.  (Even the landlords want them renewed;  the tenants want them strengthened.)  Click on the image for the text. 

518-474-8390 ext. 3, and email 
(even if you've done it recently).

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Rent laws temporarily extended to June 23, 2015

Legislative leaders and Cuomo agreed late Thursday to extend the old rules for five days — until Tuesday — when they hope a compromise will be ready for legislative consideration. Both the Senate and the Assembly planned to take up the short-term extension Thursday night.
“Negotiations… are moving in a positive direction toward a resolution,” said a statement issued by Cuomo, Senate Leader John Flanagan (R-Smithtown) and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-The Bronx).
See NY Daily News, 

State Senate poised to back 5-day rent regulations extension

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

McKee's media collection of 6/17/2015 (1st of the day)


Capital New York on last night’s manipulations over rent laws

New York Observer: City Council, activists slam Cuomo for inaction on stronger rent laws

State of Politics: Senate Republicans say they will negotiate a rent bill

City & State: The Albany blame game: Who is responsible for impasse on rent?

Capitol Confidential: Schneiderman offers help to tenants whose landlords don’t renew leases

Capital New York: De Blasio tones down rhetoric on lapse of rent laws

Wall Street Journal: Both houses pass bill to allow dogs in outdoor restaurants

State of Politics: Senator Libous returns to Albany Tuesday, after serious illnesses

Chris Smith: Albany is in the midst of a nervous breakdown (New York Magazine)

Journal News: Three men in a room agree on sexual assault policies for colleges

Crain’s: Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s claim of vast wealth doesn’t hold up

Michael McKee
Tenants Political Action Committee

McKees' media collection 6/17/2015 (second issue of the day)


Daily News: Still no Albany deal on rent

Juan Gonzalez: Marty Golden & Simcha Felder vote against tenants (Daily News)

Gotham Gazette: Castellan tenants say Tenant Protection Unit is ineffective

Daily News: How tenants are protected while state rent laws have expired

Bill Hammond: Rent law impasse illustrates how Cuomo has lost his mojo (Daily News)

Albany Times Union editorial: Albany must repeal LLC loophole, take big money out of elections

Buffalo News OpEd: Buffalo Housing Authority doing bad job of maintaining complex

New York Post editorial: De Blasio & Cuomo: Stop fear-mongering over rent law sunset

Michael McKee
Tenants Political Action Committee

Will Cuomo meet with tenants now as he met with real estate donors earlier this year?

R3 has written a Letter to Governor Cuomo

June 17, 2015

Governor Andrew Cuomo
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224

Governor Cuomo –

For months, tenants have been reaching out to urge you to stand strong for affordable housing by using your considerable political power to fight for stronger rent laws. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Recent media on Albany's failure to renew rent laws 6/16/2015



New York Times: Former Governor Eliot Spitzer takes over family real estate empire (tries to get development started before higher percentage of affordable housing is required)

Michael McKee
Tenants Political Action Committee

Cuomo failing to fight for stronger rent laws

Capital Tonight

After Rent Expires, Tenant Advocates Point Finger At Cuomo

Rent control laws for New York City and the surrounding areas expired at midnight after state lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo failed to reach a deal on either a long-term extension or a short-term stop-gap measure. 

Protest Cuomo today at noon in PJs or with sleeping bag.

TODAY (Tuesday, June 16, 2015)
12:00 Noon 
Cuomo’s NYC office
633 Third Avenue
between 40th & 41st Streets, Manhattan

Bring a sleeping bag, or a blanket, or a pillow! Wear your pajamas or nightshirt.

Since Governor Andrew Cuomo has refused to stand with tenants and instead is standing with developers and landlords, tenants will be doing a camp out in front of Cuomo’s NYC office at 633 Third Avenue today at NOON to send a message to Cuomo that if he doesn't strengthen the rent laws, 2.5 million New Yorkers will be at risk of losing their homes.
Governor Cuomo: Stop playing games! Fight to repeal Vacancy Decontrol!
Get your members, your friends and neighbors to call Governor Cuomo, and call yourself, even if you have called before. Tell the Governor that you will hold him responsible if the rent laws are not strengthened. Call (518) 474-8390, press 3.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Michael McKee's articles of interest to tenant advocates 6/13/2015


Capital New York: Assembly Dems say let 421-a expire if rent laws not strengthened

Daily News: Tenants will seek candidate to oppose Cuomo if rent laws not strengthened

Daily News editorial: Cuomo should stop making excuses and pass bills important to city

New York Observer: Keith Wright says Senate GOP will not negotiate on rent

Daily News: Cuomo warns landlords not to take advantage of rent law expiration

New York Times editorial: Westchester should comply with fair housing settlement

Wayne Barrett: The ubiquitous Al D’Amato, lobbyist with hooks into govt (Daily News)

New York Observer: Alec Brook-Krasny to resign from State Assembly

New York Observer: Rebecca Lynch to run for Mark Weprin’s City Council seat

Michael McKee
Tenants Political Action Committee