Tuesday, June 9, 2015

R3 statement: Encourage Cuomo to deliver on his (new) promises!

In a NY Daily News op-ed piece, Governor Andrew Cuomo just came out in support of repealing vacancy regulation - with the unfortunate alternative of just raising the rent at which vacant apartments may be de-regulated.  (See his immediately prior position.) 

Read the statement below from the Real Rent Reform Campaign.  Then encourage him to deliver on the repeal and the other points he has acknowledged are necessary.  


Today’s proposal from Governor Cuomo is the first time we have seen him fully embrace policies that would permanently protect the working families who depend on rent regulations in New York City and the downstate suburbs.  

His support is welcome and obviously critical, but we must also recognize we would not be at this point without the work of countless tenants and tenant advocates who put pressure on the Governor; Speaker Carl Heastie’s strong leadership on this issue, Mayor de Blasio’s advocacy for improving our rent laws, and the courage of those State Legislators and City Council Members who chose to get arrested this past week in support of tenants who depend on effective rent regulations.  While this issue is being debated, we will continue our advocacy and pressure until we have achieved our goal of stronger rent laws.

To be sure, what the Governor proposes – ending the failed experiment of vacancy decontrol; eliminating the landlord vacancy bonus; making apartment improvement surcharges temporary; and ending the “preferential rent” scam - are exactly what tenants need.  That is why they are the exact points we have been making for years as the minimum steps necessary to fix the worst loopholes in the rent laws.

Further, given the fact that the current rent laws were negotiated by two individuals who have subsequently been arrested for corruption schemes involving the real estate industry, it is clear that these laws are the product of corruption and cannot be allowed to stand.

In this context, we are pleased that the Governor now recognizes the need for real rent reform and stronger laws to protect tenants.   But today’s proposal is only the first step, and one that requires the Governor to follow through by delivering on these laws as the legislative session winds down.  Doing so will make him a hero to millions of tenants in rent-regulated housing; failing to deliver would once more prove that in Albany, money continues to trump the needs of the people of our state. 

We have seen the ability of this Governor to win significant changes to state law when he puts his mind to it.  We have also seen this Governor make sweeping 
promises, only to see those promises fall by the wayside in the face of Albany politics. And we have also been repeatedly betrayed by leaders in Albany who made promises to tenants, then quickly caved to real estate behind closed doors.

We believe the Governor has the power to deliver on this promise.  We are counting on him to do so.

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