Assembly Legislative Package Supports Renters’ Rights, Helps Keep New Yorkers in Their Homes

May 15, 2008
Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs (D-Flatbush) announced that the Assembly passed a package of bills designed to regulate rent laws and promote fairness in renting procedures – in areas where rents are regulated – among tenants and landlords.

“We need to make sure that the rights of tenants are adequately protected,” Jacobs said. “Many New York City residents don’t own their apartments – they rent them – and it’s critical that we do what needs to be done to ensure that New Yorkers can continue to afford to live in New York City.”

“Without rent regulation – which prevents rapidly rising housing costs – only the rich would be able to afford living in New York City,” said Jacobs. “The Assembly’s bills put protections in place that reverse skyrocketing rents. It protects people from being priced out of their homes, and I urge the Senate and governor to get on board with our commonsense legislation.”

The 9-bill rent regulation package passed by the Assembly includes measures to:

  • Increase the amount of civil penalties the Division of Housing and Community Renewal could impose on landlords who harass tenants or who violate DHCR orders related to rent-regulated housing (A.10823);
  • Repeal provisions of the law that take units out of the rent-regulated system (A.7416-A);
  • Limit a building owner’s ability to recover a rent-regulated apartment for personal use (A.799);
  • Increase the rent and income deregulation thresholds for luxury, high-income tenants (A.10647);
  • Require landlords who charge a rent lower than the maximum amount to offer that same rent as long as the same tenant resides in the apartment (A.10055-A);
  • Reduce the amount of rent increase after a vacancy from 20 percent to 10 percent and limit the number of allowable increases per year (A.2894);
  • Give New York City more power to regulate rents by removing the provision of law prohibiting cities of 1 million or more residents from strengthening rent-regulation laws (A.4069);
  • Permit the declaration of an emergency pursuant to the Emergency Tenant Protection Act (ETPA) for rental housing accommodations located in buildings covered by a project-based assistance contract pursuant to Section 8 of the U.S. Housing Act of 1937 (A.5677); and
  • Extend the length of time over which major capital improvement (MCI) expenses may be recovered and require that rent surcharges authorized for MCIs cease when the cost of the improvement has been recovered (A.6510).

In addition, the Assembly passed two bills earlier in the legislative session assisting renters. One bill protects tenants in Mitchell-Lama developments by prohibiting an owner from applying for a rent increase based on unique and peculiar circumstances when a project withdraws from the program (A.352). Another piece of legislation provides for the appointment of three alternatives on rent guideline boards – one alternate each to represent tenants, property owners and the public (A.4501).

“Tenants deserve assurance that their rights are protected under the law. The Assembly Majority takes tenants’ rights seriously, and this package of bills will ensure that renters in New York State have greater peace of mind and stability when it comes to the place they call home,” concluded Jacobs.