The bill, A.1685A/S.2642A, would limit a landlord’s ability to evict tenants for the purpose of using multiple tenants’ apartments to create a residence for the landlord. Specifically, the bill would limit such evictions to cases of immediate and compelling necessity, permit the landlord to take only one apartment, and restrict evictions if the tenant has occupied the apartment for twenty years or more.
Kavanagh is a prime sponsor of the bill, introduced in the Assembly by Housing Committee Chair Vito Lopez and co-sponsored by Assemblymember Glick. The bill passed the Assembly on June 17, 2009. Among the tenants joining in calling for passage of the bill were residents of 12 apartments at 19-21 Barrow Street, who are facing eviction by an owner who recently purchased the building and seeks to create a large personal residence, and former tenants of 47 East 3rd Street, who were the targets of a similar effort in a prior case. In cases like there, purchasers are often able to obtain buildings at significant discounts because they were occupied by rent regulated tenants.
“There are many loopholes that weaken our laws protecting tenants, but the one that allows so-called ‘personal use’ evictions is among the most egregious,” said Kavanagh. “Wealthy people should not be permitted to create mansions on the cheap by displacing numerous families from their homes. Current law not only allows this pernicious practice, but in some ways encourages it. It’s high time we end it.”