Friday, December 30, 2016

ProPublica: Why Big Developers Give $$$ to Politicians

Why Developers of Manhattan 
Luxury Towers Give Millions to 
Upstate Candidates
A first-of-its-kind analysis shows just how tactical the real-
estate industry is about bankrolling state legislators who will 
protect its $1.4 billion tax break and weaken rent laws.

by Cezary Podkul and Derek Kravitz, ProPublica, and 
Will Parker, The Real Deal, Dec. 30, 2016, 8 a.m.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Fateful Vote that Made NYC Rents So High

The Fateful Vote That Made 

New York City Rents So High

A 1994 City Council vote enabling landlords 
to dodge limits on rent increases has had a 
profound impact on the lives of New Yorkers.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Rally against 421-A deal

The proposed deal between the Real Estate Board of NY (REBNY) and the construction unions guarantees higher wages for buildings constructed with proposed 421-A tax breaks.  But at what cost?  On THURSDAY, DEC. 1 at 1 PM at City Hall in Manhattan, join the Real Rent Reform Campaign, the Alliance for Tenant Power and other coalitions opposed to the $billion giveaway to developers. 

See NY Slant's article by Tom Waters


NOVEMBER 29, 2016 |  

In recent years, 421-a has cost New York City more than a billion dollars a year in foregone tax revenue ($1.2 billion in 2016), while producing about $100 million a year worth of affordable housing.
Cuomo’s proposal would cost the city $2.4 billion a year in revenue, without bringing about a remotely comparable increase in affordability benefit.
This enormous new tax expenditure would be wasteful in any context, but it is especially ill advised at a time when vital federal subsidy streams to the city are in jeopardy in a Trump presidency. For comparison, the New York City Housing Authority currently receives $910 million a year in federal operating subsidies for public housing and $930 million a year for Section 8 vouchers. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

New Albany tax give-away to developers - Nov. 11, 2016 ?

From the Association of Neighborhood and Housing Development website:

Albany Gives Our Budget Away to REBNY As the City Faces Massive Loss of Federal Support

Albany Deal Will Give Away Billions More in Extended Real Estate Tax Exemption Proposal

The big-real estate developers lobbying group, REBNY, announced a proposed new deal today to bring back the controversial 421a Developers Tax Exemption. As ANHD pointed out in a blog last week, the proposal is unconscionable on its face because it will give developers an additional 10-year exemption, on top of an already grossly excessive 25-year proposed exemption, creating a tax break that is unprecedented and unjustifiable on any fiscal or programmatic grounds – all at the expense of New York City taxpayers

Saturday, October 29, 2016

New law: Those who place ads for illegal "AirBnB"-type rentals will be fined

From Michael McKee of Tenants PAC:  

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill sponsored
by Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal and others to
 crack down on scofflaw "sharing" companies like 
Airbnb that are exacerbating our affordable housing 
crisis. It is now Chapter 396 of the Laws of 2016. 
People who advertise to rent apartments for less 
than 30 days will now be subject to stiff fines. 
This is a terrific victory and is a credit to all the 
activists and groups working on this issue. Thanks 
to Linda Rosenthal and State Senator Andrew 
Lanza of Staten Island, as well as all the other 
legislators who co-sponsored the bill. And thanks 
to Governor Cuomo for doing the right thing on this one.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Support the Right to Counsel in Housing Court

On Monday, Sept. 26, 2016, the New York City Council will consider a bill that could make New York City the first city in the nation to guarantee the right to legal counsel to tenants who are up to 200% of the poverty line and facing eviction in housing court - and in doing so, take a giant step to address the crisis of homelessness in our City.    Be part of history and join the Right to Counsel Campaign on 

Monday, September 26th, at 9:30am 
at New York City Hall Steps 
for a press conference 
in support of  intro 214-A
followed by 
City Council hearings 
on this historic piece of legislation

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Memorial for affordable housing - Tenants Day of Action Sept. 22, 2016


in front of BARCLAYS CTR.
Flatbush and Atlantic Ave.

Join Met Council on Housing, FUREE 
(Families United for Racial and Economic Equality)  
in a memorial service to mourn the loss of affordable 
housing across our communities in New York City.  
This will be followed by a march. 

FOR NON-MARCHERS: Housing Conversation on the NYC Housing Justice Movement - Brooklyn Commons, 388 Atlantic Avenue

RSVP .  For more information: Mike, (718) 852 – 2960 /

Rent Justice Coalition Sues to Defend Rent Freeze

Rent Justice Coalition Files Lawsuit to Defend Rent Freeze

Lawsuit Against Rent Stabilization Association After Group Sues Board Over Rent Freeze

Rent Guidelines Board Voted for Second Year of Historic Rent Freeze on NYC’s Stabilized Units

New York, NY—Tenants, housing advocates and supporters convened today to file an intervention at the New York County Courthouse against the landlord group, Rent Stabilization Association over their lawsuit looking to cancel the rent freeze on stabilized apartment units. Attorneys from Urban Justice Center, Goddard and Legal Aid Society joined the Rent Justice Coalition to hold a press conference ahead of the filing.
On June 27, 2016 the Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) made a historic decision to extend the already historic rent freeze for another year. Last year, the RGB passed a proposal of a one-year rent freeze for rent-stabilized tenants: in a 7-2 vote from the 9 member board. It was the first time the RGB passed a rent freeze in the board’s 46 year history.

In response, the Rent Stabilization Association (RSA), which represents about 25,000 city landlords, filed a lawsuit to cancel the rent freeze, claiming the RGB inappropriately considered tenant affordability in issuing its rent order. The RSA asserts that the RGB may only look at the economic factors affecting landlords, despite Rent Stabilization Law’s mandate that the RGB consider data regarding the cost of living and any other relevant information.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Upcoming Events

(1) Miniature Golf Tournament: TenantsPAC Fundraiser with NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito on Tuesday, July 19th from 6:30-9PM (see "read more" for details)

(2) Met Council on Housing's Membership Meeting and Pot Luck on Thursday, July 21, 2016
6:30-8PM at Goddard Riverside, 573 Columbus Ave. (corner 88th St.) in Manhattan

Sunday, July 10, 2016

NYS should tell tenants when their building has a tax break that affects them!

See the terrific articles on J-51 buildings and their occupants, by Cezary Podkul of ProPublica.

"NY Isn't Telling Tenants They May Be Protected from Big Rent Hikes"
"This is What NY's 'Voluntary Compliance' for Landlords Looks Like" !

From ProPublica:
Meet the NYC Tax Break That Could Save You From Eviction Or A Big Rent Hike
A property tax benefit known as J-51 can mean the difference between a rent freeze and a sharp increase. Here is how to find out if your building qualifies.

Help Us Investigate New York City Rents

Is your rent legal? It might not be. Your landlord might be charging you too much, and we want your help figuring that out.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

AirBnB is short changing NYC. Read the MFY/HCC Report

Short Changing New York City
The impact of Airbnb on New York City’s 
housing market

Housing Conservation Coordinators (HCC) and 
MFY Legal Services (MFY) have published a new 
report "Short Changing New York City: The impact of Airbnb on New York City’s housing market.”  

The report analyzes Airbnb’s booking data for 2015
. . . . 
Ninety percent of the NYC  listings on Airbnb are 
located in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and further 
concentrated in a handful of communities.  55% 
of the listings are for entire apartments/homes in 
apparent violation of the Multiple Dwelling Law.  
The report is here: 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

RGB Freezes Rents for Second Year in a Row

The Rent Guidelines Board has decided:  

For Rent Stabilized tenants who renew their leases any time from October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2017 :

  • 1-year leases: NO INCREASE.   
  • 2-year leases: 2% increase.

  • Tenants with "preferential rents" (those lower than the Legal Regulated Rent), 
  • Tenants facing Major Capital Improvement (building-wide) or Individual Apartment Improvements increases.
  • Rent controlled tenants who have an annual 7.5% increase(!)

Monday, June 27, 2016

RGB's final vote: Monday, April 27 at 6 PM


Tenants from across the City are coming together to make our voices heard. Rents are too high and the Rent Guidelines Board can change that!


Monday, June 27, 2016

6 PM

The Great Hall at Cooper Union

Trains: No. 6 to Astor Place – Cooper Union

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

"Making the Rent" - Community Service Society report and the NY Times

Stop vacancy "bonuses" for landlords - as the NY Times reportsciting:


Thomas J. WatersVictor Bach

Summary: In this report, we examine the relationship between local and citywide factors in driving rent increases. We document the widening gap between rent and income for tenants at a wide range of income levels, along with an apparently related surge in overcrowding. And we dissect the mechanisms that have allowed rents to reach such unaffordable levels in all parts of the city.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Get involved with the RGB - East & West Sides of Manhattan

West Side Housing Forum:  

Wednesday, May 18th6-8pm
Goddard Riverside, 593 Columbus Ave
Thursday, May 19th6-8pm, Trevor Day School, 312 E 95th St

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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Rent Guidelines Board considering a range of changes.

On May 2, 2016, the Rent Guidelines Board preliminarily voted to consider a range - from freezing rents for 1-year leases, to some increases.  It will then take testimony at several meetings (sign up to testify by calling the RGB at 212-669-7480) and hold its final vote for the year on June 27, 2016. 

Proposed Rent Stabilized Apartment Renewal Guidelines 

Together with such further adjustments as may be authorized by law, the annual adjustment for renewal leases for apartments shall be: 

For a one-year renewal lease commencing on or after October 1, 2016 and on or before September 30, 2017: 0% - 2% 

For a two-year renewal lease commencing on or after October 1, 2016 and on or before September 30, 2017: 0.5% - 3.5% 

Monday, May 2, 2016

The NYC Rent Guidelines Board has set out it full schedule of the Rent Guidelines Board's public meetings for 2016.  Some meetings will take testimony, others not.  

Come to the rally at Herald Square tomorrow (Tuesday) evening, May 2nd  at 6 PM and march to the Proshansky basement auditorium at the CUNY Graduate Center before the RGB's Preliminary Vote at 7!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Why we need a Rent Rollback

Did you know: The Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) is supposed to "make landlords whole" so they can operate their buildings.  The RGB is not supposed to ensure landlord profits

But since long before the 1990's (when detailed economic information became available), landlords have been awarded rent increases that far exceeded their expenses.  So last year, the NYC Rent Guidelines Board ordered a rent freeze for those taking 1-year lease renewals.  Even with that, RGB-ordered increases have led to a big gap between the total increases and what rents should be.  On April 21, 2016, tenant advocates testified (click on links for the testimony) for rent stabilized tenants 
  • Tom Waters of the Community Service Society, 
  • Barika Williams of the Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development (ANHD)
  • Jenny Laurie of Housing Court Answers, and 
  • Tim Collins, former RGB Exec. Dir., and partner, Collins, Dobkin & Miller
and for SRO tenants: 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Rent devouring 2/3 of NYers' incomes

DNAinfo:  Rent Will Devour Two-Thirds of Your Income This  

MANHATTAN — New York City renters are likely to spend nearly two-thirds of their income on rent this year, according to a report released Thursday from real estate search engine StreetEasy.
Typical renters are likely to devote 65 percent of their income on rent — up from nearly 60 percent in 2015, the report found.
Click on the link for the full article. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Rent Guidelines Board hearings - come listen to tenant advocates

Rent Guidelines Board: 
Tenant Advocate Testimony    
April 21, 2016 from 1-3 PM

David N. Dinkins Municipal Building
next to the Brooklyn Bridge
Landmarks Preservation Commission, Conference Room
New York, NY 10007

Every Spring, the NYC Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) has hearings with landlord and tenant testimony to determine whether and how much to increase rent stabilized rents when leases are renewed. Last year, the RGB froze the rents for those signing a 1-year lease renewal because for the previous 40 years, landlord increases had far exceeded inflation and actual costs.  We need the RGB to freeze or even roll back the rents for 2-year lease renewals.

You can testify at future hearings and should. What can you say?  
  • Your name and where you live
  • How a rent increase will affect you. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Rally before RGB meeting - Thursday, April 7 at 8:30 AM at 1 Centre St.

Tenants from across the City are coming together to make our voices heard.
Rents are too high and the Rent Guidelines Board can change that!


8:30 a.m.
1 Centre St., Manhattan (next to Brooklyn Bridge)
Trains: 4,5,6 to Bklyn Bridge/City Hall; J,M,Z to Chamber; R to City Hall; A,C,E,2,3 to Park Place; 1 to Chambers St.

Contact Delsenia at Tenants & Neighbors, 212-608-4320

Tom Mellins on NYC's Affordable Housing Legacy

On April 4, 2016, the Park West Village History Group and Bloomingdale Aging in Place
sponsored a talk by housing historian Tom Mellins, with additional panelists, on our city's (and particularly the Upper West Side's) affordable housing legacy.  Mellins is most recently the curator of the affordable housing exhibit at the Museum of the City of NY.  He noted that New York City has always been ahead of the rest of the country:

Friday, February 12, 2016

Criminal charges for landlords/developers who ignore safety

Landlords and developers who ignore safety are being criminally charged in the U.S. and abroad.

NY Times
5 Arrested in Connection With East Village Gas Explosion

The gas explosion that killed two people and destroyed three buildings last spring in the East Village was a catastrophic consequence of a scheme by a landlord who had installed an illegal gas line and hid the setup from inspectors, all in a bid to hold onto tenants and their high rents, prosecutors said on Thursday.

Al Jazeera America

Three Taiwanese construction company execs were detained on charges of professional negligence; scores died in building

Three Taiwanese construction company executives have been detained on charges of professional negligence resulting in death following the collapse of an apartment building that killed dozens.
The district prosecutor's office in the city of Tainan said in a statement Wednesday that Lin Ming-hui and architects Chang Kui-an and Cheng Chin-kui were suspected of having overseen shoddy construction of the 17-story Weiguan Golden Dragon building, which crashed onto its side following an earthquake Saturday.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

421a Stay Away - Rally postponed

421a Stay Away!  
Rally with us
Meet at 57th St. & 5th Ave.
near the luxury condominium One57
11 AM Sharp!

NYC Tenants, Let's Rally!

The 421a tax abatement giveaway for luxury housing that takes $1 billion in tax revenue each year from NYC has expired! 

Join us to let Governor Cuomo know that tenants say NO! to a resuscitation of  421a without stronger rent laws.

Let's come together to protect our communities and keep New York affordable.

On February 5th, you can make a difference!

#1 Million Homes
2.5 Million Tenants
Join the movement.

Contact Tenants & Neighbors 212-608-4320