Saturday, February 28, 2015

Tenant Lobby Day - Tuesday, March 3, 2015 in Albany

Tell your legislators how to strengthen the rent laws when they expire in June!   

Sign up with R3 for one of our three bus pick-ups:

  • 7 AM: Union Square  - 4th Ave, E 14th St, SE Corner, in front of Walgreens)
  • 7:30 AM: 96th and Broadway (Upper West Side)  - 2549 Broadway, in front of McDonald's.
  • 7:45 AM: 157th and Broadway (Washington Heights) - 157th and Broadway, SE corner of the street

RSVP on line or contact Yonah at 212-979-6238. 

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  | 

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.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Real Estate: tides of $$ coming into NYC

Tides of big real estate money are not just flowing to Albany politicians.  There appears to
be some serious investment of big cash from the unscrupulous into New York City real estate, the NY Times reports


But such checks are not required on money flowing into the country through shell companies to purchase high-end real estate.

L.L.C.s [Limited Liability Corporations] and other entities can be established in various states without revealing their true owners. Even when such companies move money through a bank account, banks are not required to know who is behind the transaction because of a loophole in the law.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Mayor de Blasio Focuses on Affordable Housing

He summed it up as
Taller buildings (with community input about placement, etc.)
Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning - and rezoning
Focusing where need is greatest (on specific populations)
Targeting predatory landlords

Click on "read more" below for some highlights.

Monday, February 2, 2015

"Sleazy, Secretive Process" for replacing Sheldon Silver in Albany

NY Times editorial blogger Eleanor Randolph

The Secretive, Sleazy Process to Replace Sheldon Silver

By ELEANOR RANDOLPH FEBRUARY 2, 2015 11:00 AM February 2, 2015 11:00 am 43 \


In the next few days Democrats in Albany could choose a new speaker to replace Sheldon Silver, who was arrested on corruption charges almost two weeks ago. After Mr. Silver’s 20 years of dominating the New York Assembly, it is a rare opportunity to create a better, fairer

But it looks like the next powerful speaker could be picked in the sleazy and secretive style that has long characterized Albany politics.