Albany, NY — On May 14, members of the Progressive Caucus of the New York City Council joined thousands of tenants, advocates, and allies to call for the strengthening of tenant protections before the state’s rent laws expire on June 15.
Organized by Housing Justice For All and joined by members of Local Progress from across the state, the mobilization began with a rally at the New York State Museum. Progressive Caucus Council Members Rivera, Kallos, Lander, and Levine called for Universal Rent Control, a package of nine bills that would replace the loopholes in current law, which allow landlords to harass tenants and rent hikes. After marching to the State Capitol, the Council Members joined Speaker Corey Johnson for a press conference, where they spoke about the importance of Universal Rent Control and how such legislation would affect their constituents.
Universal Rent Control includes:
Renew and reform the Emergency Tenant Protection Act of 1974 to protect renters across the state and close the landlord friendly loopholes that cause that cause displacement, harassment, and rent hikes:
- Reform “Preferential Rent” (S2845/A4349) (Krueger/Cymbrowitz): Requires that preferential rent leases last for the duration of the tenancy.
- End “Vacancy Decontrol” (S2591/A1198) (Stewart-Cousins/Rosenthal): Repeals vacancy decontrol and re-regulates deregulated apartments that rent for less under $5,000 in NYC and $3,500 in suburbs.
- Eliminate the “Vacancy Bonus” (S185/A2351) (Serrano/Pichardo): Eliminates the 20% bonus on “legal rent” landlords may add to legal rent when an apartment changes hands.
- Eliminate Rent Hikes Caused by Major Capital Improvements (S3693/A6322) (Gianaris/Barnwell): Eliminates landlords’ ability to pass the cost of necessary building repairs onto renters.
- Stop Harassment and Deregulation Caused by Individual Apartment Improvement Increases (S3770/A06465) (Kavanagh/Richardson): When apartments are vacant, landlords often make cosmetic repairs in order to raise the rent and reach the deregulation threshold. This bill would eliminate that.
- Reform the Four Year Rule (S4169/A5251) (Myrie/Dinowitz): While tenants in rent stabilized apartments are able to challenge rent increases, thanks to the “four year rule,” they are limited in their ability to fight older, but often fraudulent, “legal” rents.
- Expand the Emergency Tenant Protection Act (S5040/A7046) (Breslin/Cahill): Only New York City and the surrounding counties can opt into rent regulation. This is not fair. Localities should decide for themselves whether or not they wan? to opt into a system to protect tenants. This bill gives all places in New York State the option to decide for themselves.
Sudden rent hikes and landlord retaliation cause eviction in non-rent stabilized apartments. New York State needs a housing law that works for everyone.
- Good Cause Eviction (S2892/A5030) (Salazar/Hunter): Gives every tenant in New York State the right to a renewal lease with fair terms from the landlord. Tenants may still be evicted for “good cause.”
- Rent Control Relief (S299/A167) (Benjamin/Rosenthal): Brings “rent control” increases in line with “rent stabilization” increases