New York, NY – On September 27, the New York City Council passed Intro. 0934, the last bill in the 12-bill package introduced as part of the Stand for Tenant Safety legislation. The bill will create a Real Time Enforcement Unit (RTEU) in the Department of Buildings (DOB). The RTEU will be tasked with regularly monitoring, inspecting, and swiftly responding to hazardous complaints related to work completed in occupied dwellings.
The Stand for Tenant Safety (STS) legislation is a part of the Progressive Caucus’ ADVANCEMENT policy platform. Championed by Progressive Caucus Members and tenants and advocates in the Stand for Tenant Safety (STS) Coalition, this bill, along with the 11 others previously passed in August, will be moved to passage to strengthen the ability of the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) to protect tenants in regards to construction harassment.
“Far too many try to bypass, bend, and break the law in pursuit of profit,” said Council Member Stephen Levin, member of the Progressive Caucus lead sponsor of Intro 934. “We cannot and will not allow unscrupulous landlords to take advantage of our community. The STS package of bills goes to lengths to provide tenants the protections they deserve. Now with the passage of 934, which establishes a real-time enforcement unit, we are putting bad landlords on notice. This specially created unit will greatly increase the protections available to tenants facing harassment. We want to let tenants facing harassment and displacement know that they are not alone in this fight – through this coalition, we are a more engaged, compassionate, and just city. With this last bill in the package, I’m proud to continue advancing the work of the Stand for Safety Coalition, and I look forward to real progress for New Yorkers everywhere.”
“I am proud to Stand for Tenant Safety. This a victory for everyone- for the advocates who have been tirelessly working on the ground in our neighborhoods and for the tenants who are being driven out of their rent stabilized homes by unscrupulous landlords. The citywide coalition’s assistance with crafting the legislation has been paramount,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso, co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus and lead sponsor of Intro 938, 939, and 940 (previously passed). “Today, the Department of Buildings has an additional bill that is part of a comprehensive package of reforms to work with for better enforcement. This bill strengthens and protects tenants’ rights to stay in their homes and not be harassed by construction to their unit or building. This is key legislation for my district of Williamsburg, Bushwick and Ridgewood where these tactics run rampant, and just as valuable for families throughout the City.”
“With the passage of the Real Time Enforcement Unit, the City Council and the Progressive Caucus are putting landlords on notice that tenant harassment is unacceptable in this city,” said Council Member Donovan Richards, Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus. “These practices aimed at displacing New Yorkers are inexcusable and put resident safety at risk, all so a landlord can raise rents. The entire Stand for Tenant Safety legislative package will ensure that landlords are held accountable and root out any property owners who don’t stand for their tenant’s well-being.”
“I’m so inspired by the advocates who have spent years fighting to make the Stand for Tenant Safety package of reforms possible–this is their victory,” said Progressive Caucus Vice Chair for Budget Advocacy Council Member Helen Rosenthal and lead sponsor of previously passed Intro 944. “This legislation represents a sweeping reform to the Department of Buildings, and it will have a major impact on the lives of tenants across our city. Congratulations to my colleague Steve Levin, the entire Stand for Tenant Safety coalition, and to all my colleagues on the Council who took on this cause and did not give up.”
“Introduction 934-A is the last piece in the Stand for Tenant Safety (STS) legislative package which, taken together will correct the bad behaviors of the City’s worst landlords. By creating a special enforcement unit this bill will ensure violations are followed with action by the Department of Buildings,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, Vice Chair for Policy for the Progressive Caucus and lead sponsor of introductions 930 and 931. “For too long some landlords and building owners have neither fixed recurring problems on their properties nor paid the fines that go along with those violations, putting tenants in unsafe conditions sometimes for years on end. Introduction 934-A will further help New Yorkers and represents a great victory for tenant safety.”
The STS Coalition is a citywide alliance of grassroots tenant organizations and legal service groups collaborating with the Progressive Caucus and the eleven City Council prime sponsors to push for the STS legislation.
This bill, along with the 11 others passed in August as part of in the STS legislative package, provides tenants better protection from dangerous construction and help DOB to enforce already existing laws. Without these bills, unscrupulous landlords can use loopholes in the city’s enforcement to create hazardous construction conditions to push tenants out of their homes.