Saturday, June 13, 2015

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.

on MONDAY, JUNE 15, 2015
Cuomo (& landlords)
Apartment deregulation
Raise deregulation threshold from $2500 rent to $2700 rent. (Vacant apartments could be taken out of rent regulation at that amount.  Occupied apartments could be taken out of rent regulation if the rent is that level AND the household income is $200,000 or more.)
Repeal “vacancy decontrol” so that apartments cannot be taken out of rent regulation when they are empty. 
èWe're losing more apartments than can be built
èOwners have a strong incentive to get out rent regulated tenants.
MCI and Individual   Apt. Improvement increases
Landlords can’t apply for MCI increases until they have paid the fines for a certain number of outstanding violations.
End Major Capital Improvement and Individual Apt. Improvement increases when the improvement's cost has been paid.
Preferential rents

For tenants with preferential rents: base all RGB or other increases on that rent and not on a higher (theoretically “legal”) rent.
421A tax break
Extend 421-A as is, with few affordable apartments resulting and a loss of $1.1 billion/year to NYC in taxes. (Purchasers of multi-million dollar apartments get tax breaks.)
Either end it (use other stimulus to develop affordable housing), or require much more affordable housing and bar tax breaks for billionaires. (Mayor de Blasio wants tax breaks only for development of rental apartments.)
Harassment of tenants

Raise fines.
Get rid of vacancy decontrol since that’s what leads landlords to harass tenants.  (Tenants rarely win damages in harassment court cases.)
Tenant Protection Unit of DHCR
Put it in the statute instead of just regulation. (The courts have upheld its existence as is.)
Increase TPU's staffing and budget.
Extend rent laws

Extend the laws to 2023 (another 8 years).  Result: NYC and the surrounding counties will lose tens of thousands of rent regulated apartments each year. Cuomo will no longer be in office to bear the consequences.
If vacancy decontrol is repealed, it’s ok to extend rent laws for a long time. But if vacancy decontrol remains legal, the City and surrounding counties will continue to lose tens of thousands of affordable apartments each year. So we need a shorter renewal period in order to have the State Legislature’s attention

Call Governor Cuomo and urge him to 
  • TAKE AWAY TOOLS FOR RAISING RENTS TO HIGH THAT REGULATED TENANTS CAN'T AFFORD THEM AND MOVE OUT (MCI and Individual Apartment Improvement increases, and sudden Preferential Rent leaps in rent)

Please contact the Governor now to repeal vacancy decontrol - and contact Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie too to encourage him to stay strong for tenants. 

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