March 13, 2011

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Housing Committee Chairman Vito Lopez, the Assembly Majority and the Community Service Society Release Groundbreaking Report Highlighting NYC Housing Crisis and the Need For Stronger Rent Laws

Silver: We Must Strengthen Rent Laws to Protect Working Families

NEW YORK -- Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assembly Housing Committee Chairman Vito Lopez were joined by members of the Assembly Majority, David R. Jones the President of the Community Service Society of New York, affordable housing advocates and rent-regulated tenants to release a groundbreaking new report documenting rent-stabilized housing’s critical role in protecting millions of working New Yorkers and the urgent need to extend rent-stabilization laws while closing the loopholes that are costing New York thousands of affordable apartments every year.

The report, The New Housing Emergency, revealed that more than 10,000 rent-regulated apartments are lost each year because of loopholes in the rent laws such as vacancy decontrol, individual apartment improvement and major capital improvement rent increases. The current rent laws are set to expire on June 15th. Silver, Lopez and Jones called for those laws to be extended and expanded.

"If we do not act quickly to extend our rent laws, millions of working New Yorkers could lose their homes," Speaker Silver said. "Merely continuing the current laws is not enough. We must close the loopholes identified in this report that cost our neighborhoods thousands of affordable homes each year and which threaten to turn New York into a city without a middle-class."

"I am pleased to join Speaker Silver and my Assembly colleagues to advocate for the expansion of the Rent Regulation Laws," said Assemblyman Lopez, Chairman of the Assembly Housing Committee, who has dedicated his career to preserving and creating affordable housing for New Yorkers. "As we face a dire housing crisis in New York City, it is imperative that we fight to protect the residents of New York City, maintain our affordable housing stock and prevent against massive displacement throughout the City of New York."

"Our research shows that New Yorkers continue to experience multiple hardships, with many residents using a good majority of their income for rent," said Jones, who authored the 'New Housing Emergency' report. "More than 340,000 rental properties affordable to low-income people were lost between 2000 and 2007 in the five boroughs. This is why we must renew the rent regulation laws, repeal vacancy destabilization, and curtail exorbitant rent increases on vacancy."

The report finds that:

In releasing the report, Silver and members of the Assembly Majority vowed to pass legislation that would extend rent regulations and add new protections that would help reverse the significant losses of affordable housing spelled out in the report.

The Assembly has introduced a bill (A.2674-A), that would: