Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Newsday: Skelos trial emails say landlords have mole at tenant strategy meetings

Michael McKee of Tenants PAC writes, "The article discusses . . . evidence in the Dean-Adam Skelos trial. . . that describe efforts by the real estate lobby to stop pro-tenant changes in Albany, including big bucks contributions to the Senate Republicans from the Real Estate Board of NY and Rent Stabilization Association of landlords.

The email from Glenwood Management executive Charles Dorego states that the landlords had a mole at tenant strategy meetings.

Click on the article and then click "Ctrl+" to make it bigger on your screen.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Fri., Sept. 18, 2015: Tenants PAC Fundraiser honoring 10 elected officials who sat in for tenants

It's time to get Back to Work for the Future!


  • Friday, Sept. 18, 2015 
  • from 6:30-9 PM 
  • at Local 802, American Federation of Musicians, 
  • 322 W. 48th St. (between 8th & 9th Aves.)

Jazz!!! courtesy of Local 802.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

New case could re-regulate thousands of apartments!!

Brick Underground


Friday, September 11, 2015

Stronger law on de-regulating vacant apartments

Attorney David Hershey-Webb wrote in the NY Law Journal (see below):  "The new law provides that a rent stabilized apartment cannot be deregulated unless the prior tenant's legal regulated rent is $2,700."  (That's different from the general landlord practice of taking an apartment whose rent was low and raising the price through real or claimed improvements.)
The new law supports the court decision under the previous law, Altman, decided by NY State's mid-level court.  Landlords have been trying to appeal that case, so far without success.  If the appeal is denied in Altman, the new law will certainly stand!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Protection against landlord harassment on relocation

From NYC Council Housing Chairman Jumaane Williams:

Photo Credit: William Alatriste, NYC COUNCIL
BRONX, NYOn September 3, 2015, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed Intro. 700 into law, co-sponsored by Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (D-Brooklyn), Deputy Leader and Chair of the Council's Housing and Buildings Committeewhich is part of a Tenant Protection Package that aims to address the poor business practices of unscrupulous tenant relocation specialists, or as they are more commonly known, tenant relocatorsThe package of bills were passed by the New York City Council on August 13, 2015.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Key change in 2015 rent law may slow pace of de-regulation

Tucked into Albany's renewal of the rent laws is a new provision, described by the
(landlords') Rent Stabilization Association:

"For high-rent vacancy deregulations based upon the new threshold, deregulation will be based upon whether the legal regulated rent for the prior tenant was more than $2,700. Please note that this change does NOT affect prior deregulations which were based upon the legal regulated rent of the new tenant."  

What it means:  

Up to now, the last tenant in an apartment that became vacant could have been paying $1800 - but the landlord then "improved" the apartment raising the rent to the de-regulation amount ($2500 before June 15, 2015).  Once it was up to that amount, the owner took it out of rent regulation permanently and rented it for whatever the market would bear - sometimes $4000 or more.

The change is that to de-regulate the apartment under the new law the LAST TENANT in that apartment when it was rent stabilized must have been paying at least $2700 a month. The improvements that the owner puts may raise the rent, but they will NOT result in de-regulating the apartment.  (How this will actually work is not clear.  Consult your tenant association's attorney!)  

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Find out which buildings have more de-regulated apartments

Excerpted from John Krauss's blog

Whither Rent Regulation   


Buildings that are 100% stabilized look the same on [DHCR's] list as buildings with just one apartment left in the program.
The secrecy blanketing the stabilization program . . .  provides cover for landlords who fail to tell the state (register) their stabilized apartments. Registration is voluntary — another loophole in the law — and failure to do so could be an indication that they are overcharging their tenants.
If a landlord doesn’t like charging the legal rent, they can simply “forget” to register. It’s up to the tenant to take them to court to comply.


. . . Remarkably, the number of stabilized apartments in each building over the last seven years is hidden in plain sight, in property tax bills. With help from a few civic hackers, I built, a collection of every tax bill going back to 2008 for every building that might be stabilized in New York Cit

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

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

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

End-of-Session Maneuvering in Albany

EVERYONE: THIS ISSUE IS NOT WHETHER THE RENT LAWS WILL BE RENEWED – THEY WILL BE. The issue is whether the rent laws will be strengthened. Gov. Cuomo & the Senate Republicans are trying to create a sense of panic so everyone will breathe a sigh of relief when the laws are renewed in their current weakened form. This is a trap into which we must not fall. Stronger rent laws NOW.

In Search Of A Deal

Assembly Democrats returned to the Capitol on Sunday night for a closed-door conference that seemed to touch on nearly every unresolved issue -- from protections for nail salon workers to rent control -- in the final days of the legislative session.

 , , , ,

- Nick Reisman

No threat to existing tenants in NYC

The laws will be reauthorized before the session concludes and will almost 
certainly be retroactive to the date of expiration. If there are several days where 
the rent laws have technically expired, tenants are still protected. 

You're protected: 
    • All rent-stabilized tenants' existing leases will remain in effect.
    • Tenants in rent-controlled apartments within NYC are also protected.
    • By law, any tenant whose lease expires in the coming days should already
      have received a renewal lease. This lease will still be in effect once the tenant signs it, even if the rent laws expire tonight.
    • If your landlord attempts to contradict any of the above information, or if
      they harass or threaten you in any way, please contact 
      Public Advocate Tish James's special hotline: (212) 669- 7250 or

Call Cuomo Monday (& Tuesday if necessary) to demand repeal of vacancy decontrol

Call Governor Cuomo
Cuomo: Tenants Are Watching & We Will Remember. 
CALL:  (518) 474-8390, press 3

Sample Script for the phone call:  
Hello, my name is ____________ and I’m a tenant.  I’m calling to tell the Governor to strengthen the rent laws and end deregulation.  Renewing the rent laws is not enough – the Governor must strengthen the rent laws and end deregulation. If he does not do this I will never vote for him again.”

A week ago, Gov. Cuomo called for stronger rent laws and an end to deregulation. Now he says the best he can do is renew them in their current weakened form. A straight extender of the rent laws "as is" would result in a steady loss every year of rent-protected apartments in NYC and the three suburban counties, and an ultimate end of the program. 

It is likely that this issue will not be decided by Monday.  If so, call Cuomo's office again on Tuesday.  The more calls he gets on this issue the better! Get your friends and neighbors to call!

Come to a picket outside Cuomo’s NYC office MONDAY 4:30 PM
4:3633 Third Avenue (between 40th & 41st Streets, Manhattan)

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Rent Laws VIGIL TONIGHT ,SUNDAY, 6:00 PM at 633 Third Ave.

Governor Cuomo: Step Up or Step Down- We Can't Afford to Wait!  

Cuomo's Manhattan office, 
 633 Third Avenue, between 40th & 41st Streets.

The State Assembly is back in Albany for a conference Sunday, June 14th at 6:00 pm, to hear a report on where things stand and make decisions for Monday.

The Assembly is now printing a bill for a short extender, reportedly for two weeks, of everything (rent laws, coop laws, 421-a, lofts, J51, basically everything that is expiring), so it will be "live" on Monday so the Assembly will have the option of passing it.

Cuomo has warned against landlords taking advantage of temporary lapse in rent laws.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

NY Times Editorial: Cuomo has time to strengthen rent protections.

Mr. Cuomo said Thursday that he is considering a short-term extension of the 421-a law. A better option would be to let that law expire, but there will no doubt be negotiations about keeping it in some form. As for extending the existing rent protection law without needed changes, that would result in the continued loss of thousands of rent-regulated apartments every year.

Tenant Emergency: Rent laws expire Monday! Call Gov. Cuomo and Speaker Heastie.

Tell him to repeal vacancy decontrol - the motive for landlords to get regulated tenants out.

Then contact Speaker Carl Heastie518-455-3791 and give him the same message.

Cuomo bowing to real estate pressure.

Governor Cuomo bowed to tenant pressure for about twenty minutes when he wrote an Op Ed piece in the NY Daily News recognizing the need to repeal vacancy deregulation (also called "vacancy decontrol).  But then, apparently bowing to his largest donors, he said there was no time to do anything but extend the rent laws as they have been.  (Seven of the ten top contributors to Cuomo come from real estate, with ties to Glenwood Management - a real estate company named in the indictments of both former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.)  

Read more to see who wants what, and what we can do about it. Call Cuomo now *518-474-8390), come to Sunday, 6/14 vigil at 6 PM.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Tenants and some elected officials in action!

Check out this Multihop.TV video of tenants and some of their elected officials in action - explaining, riding to Albany, rallying, getting arrested, all to get Gov. Cuomo to repeal vacancy deregulation so affordable housing will no longer be lost to landlord greed.

Vigil at Cuomo's Manhattan office, Sunday, 6/15, from 6-9 PM

Having been persuaded to drop "repealing vacancy deregulation" and revising billionaire tax break 421A from his list of musts,  Governor Cuomo is giving up the most important thing to save rent regulation. 

Instead, he proposes things that are either irrelevant or harmful.  (See the "read more" section below.)  

Let's try to persuade him back.  Come to a 

VIGIL on Sunday, June 14, 2015 (day before rent laws expire)
6-9 PM
at 633 Third Ave. (between 40th & 41st Streets) - the governor's Manhattan office

Cuomo says time's up on rent law, and on 421-A negotiations

UNDER THE BUS – AGAIN                      

Cuomo Says Time's Up on Rent Law, 
421-A Negotiations 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Vigil Sunday 6-9 PM at Cuomo's Manhattan office

Governor Cuomo: "Step Up or Step Down- We Can't Afford to Wait!"  

Cuomo's Manhattan office, 
 633 Third Avenue, between 40th & 41st Streets.

Statement from the Real Rent Reform Campaign Regarding Governor Cuomo’s Ever-Changing Position on Stronger Rent Laws

This morning’s announcement by Governor Cuomo that there is “not enough time” to pass stronger rent laws for New York’s 2.5 million rent-regulated tenants is an unacceptable abdication of responsibility and leadership. 

Less than a week ago, the Governor claimed to be ready to fight for tenants by ending the failed experiment of vacancy decontrol and closing numerous landlord-friendly loopholes that were the product of corruption in Albany.  Today, tenants learned that those words were as empty and insincere as they had feared.

Governor Cuomo was elected to clean up Albany and make it functional again.  Instead, today’s statements are the equivalent of waving the white flag of surrender to corruption and dysfunction.

To be clear, if the Governor chooses to show the leadership and commitment that we know he is capable of, there is enough time for him to do his job.  There is enough time for him to keep his word.  There is enough time for him to do the right thing for millions of rent-regulated tenants in New York City and the three suburban counties who have suffered at the hands of Albany corruption for too long, by passing the stronger rent laws that he promised.   The Governor must not surrender his responsibility now.