Wednesday, February 16, 2011


As a Real Estate Broker and Chairman of a small non-profit housing organization in the Bronx, I can attest to a very real war going on in our city related to Multi-family properties. Much like the housing crisis in one and two family homes had a very real impact on people; a crisis in the cities multi-family housing stock could have a greater effect. Each building that falls into disrepair, foreclosure or abandonment effect dozens of families at once. In addition, most of the multi-family properties in threat of foreclosure or behind in their obligations to the City are in the Bronx or Brooklyn. This makes the call to action and leadership in the Bronx a top priority.

As a freshman City Councilmember, Mr. Cabrera has put himself on the front lines were it matters most. He represents the 14th district which should include many of the buildings in the dilapidated Millbank portfolio, getting so much attention. At 12 noon he will present his "Tenants' Bill of Rights" on the steps of City Hall. Hopefully his bill will find the right balance between the "rights of tenants" and the "obligations of tenants" to the communities they live in. The right balance will create sustainable buildings and intern stronger communities. The wrong balance could have disastrous consequences on the city and our borough. I look forward to the bill he will unveil today and a healthy discussion on the BoogieDowner on its pros and cons. My intention is to discuss the bill and make it stronger via our input, if needed.

I checked out the Councilman’s web site (posted below). The web sites front page is dominated by text messages from constituents advising him of building repairs that need to be addressed. If you live in his district and are unaware of his “text” program to identify substandard living conditions, please do read the first press release below. The Second press release below contains additional details on the Councilman 12 noon unveiling of his “Tenants' Bill of Rights”.

Councilman Cabrera introduces experimental phone number feature that will allow constituents to contact his office via text message
“We are in a new age of communication,” says Council Member Cabrera. “Today, calling isn’t always the first option and my goal is to have as many open lines of communication to my office as possible,” the Councilman continued. “My office has handled cases that came in through my website,, so we know that there is an avenue for utilizing new technology for service,” the councilman said. “With the ability to text my office directly, constituents have a direct line for their concerns and issues and I look forward to helping those that I serve in this new capacity.”
Council Member Cabrera will be testing out this new technology and encouraging constituents to utilize this feature to determine how it can be improved for the future. Constituents can text (347) 541-5768 to try the feature and receive assistance with their issues and concerns. All standard testing rates apply



WHO: NYC Council Member Fernando Cabrera

WHAT: Councilman Cabrera will introduce the Tenant’s Bill of Rights, a bill that would require every landlord of a multiple-dwelling in the city to post in a conspicuous location the Tenant’s bill of rights as well as attaching it to every lease and lease renewal.

WHEN: February 16th, 2010

WHERE: City Hall Steps

“I have personally visited buildings where families are living without toilets, seniors are living without heat, and children are living with mold on their walls,” says Council Member Cabrera. “The Tenant’s Bill of Rights are for these very people; people who don’t know what their rights are and who need direction on where to go to get help,” the Councilman continued.

The Tenant’s Bill of Rights would require every owner of a multiple-dwelling to post in and provide to all tenants in that multiple-dwelling a tenants bill of rights according the provisions in the bill. The city would be responsible for promulgating the document (as well as posting it on a city website) and property owners would be responsible for posting it in a conspicuous location near where the mail is delivered. Landlords would also be responsible for attaching the Tenants Bill of Rights to all new leases and lease renewals. There would be civic penalties for failure to post and distribute the Bill of Rights.

“With over two-thirds of New York City households belonging to renters, this bill has implications for over a million residents who because of varying circumstances do not know what their rights are,” said the Councilman. “It is time to help our fellow citizens know what those laws are as it pertains to what, in many instances, is their only source of peace and security, their homes.”

The bill outlines rights pertaining to eviction, heat and hot water, habitability, quiet enjoyment, discrimination, roommates, subletting, tenant organizations, and guidance for tenants who are elderly, disabled, rent-regulated or stabilized, and receiving any program assistance. The bill also points tenants to the appropriate agencies for a more exhaustive listing of their rights and also if they feel like their rights have been violated.

“This bill does not aim to inform tenants of every right they have, nor does it seek to serve as the only document they consult when they feel that their rights have been violated,” says Council Member Cabrera. “But tenant’s rights needs to be discussed on a larger scale, and this bill seeks to begin that discussion.”

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