June 30, 2011
Dear New Yorker, As you may have heard, the NY State Legislature and Governor Cuomo successfully reached an agreement to strengthen and extend New York's rent laws.
I want to thank everyone, especially the members of the Real Rent Reform Campaign, who fought so hard to help make this happen.
Special thanks as well to Governor Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Assembly Housing Committee Chair Vito Lopez, Senate Minority Leader John Sampson and all of my colleagues at the City Council for their leadership and support on this critical issue.
Because of our collective hard work, the following improvements were made to New York's rent laws:
* Renewal of rent laws for 4 years;
* Vacancy decontrol threshold has been raised to $2,500;
* High rent and income decontrol increased to $2,500 in rent and $200,000 in income ;
* Landlords are now limited to collect the 20% vacancy bonus one time per year; and
* Individual apartment improvement increases calculation has been changed to 1/60 of the cost of the improvements in buildings with more than 35 apartments.
Although we didn't get everything that we pushed for, this is the first time that our rent laws haven't been weakened since they were first brought up for renewal in 1993, and we will continue fighting to further strengthen these critical protections.
Make no mistake: We want to see vacancy decontrol eliminated and rent protections expanded to include Mitchell Lama buildings.
We also want to see common-sense improvements to oversight and enforcement and will work with the state Department of Homes and Community Renewal to ensure that landlords are getting approval for any major capital improvements that can result in rent increases and that these repairs and improvements are actually being made. Without oversight, the potential for abuse will remain enormous.
* * * * * * * * *
Much to our disappointment, the NYC Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) raised the maximum increases on rent-stabilized apartments to 3.75 percent for one-year leases and 7.25 percent for two-year leases at its final meeting Monday night. These increases go into effect in October. (For the official notice from the NYC Rent Guidelines Board log onto; http://www.housingnyc.com/downloads/guidelines/guidelines2011.pdf)
As I made clear in my testimony before the RGB last week, tenants in our city are still facing significant hardships.
The RGB should have taken this opportunity to give tenants a break and pass a reasonable one percent increase. But once again, the board showed that they are more interested in higher landlord profits than providing any relief to tenants.
To all the tenants and advocates who attended and testified at the RGB's hearings: Thank you for standing strong and helping us put up a good fight.
As disappointing as these increases are, please know that the City Council and I will continue to use every tool and avenue available to us to protect tenants and keep residents and families in their homes.
Thank you for always taking the time to read these updates. If you have any tenant-related questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Carlos Carino in the Council's Community Outreach Unit at (212) 788-9121 or email@example.com.
Have a safe and happy 4th of July.
Christine C. Quinn
Speaker NYC Council