Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Elections Change State Senate

The State Senate will have a Democratic majority starting in January 2009. That opens the door to some pro-tenant legislation - but it does not guarantee it, especially since 4 Democratic senators (and 1 senator-elect) are threatening to vote with the Republicans: Council Member Hiram Monserrate, Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr., Senator Carl Kruger, and Pedro Espada (who lives in Westchester). Urge them to support the Real Rent Reform agenda now (including supporting the Democrat for Senate Majority Leader).

Our tenants' association is part of the Real Rent Reform Campaign - along with dozens of other groups - asking the State legislature to:
  • Save affordable units in buildings that are leaving or have recently left Mitchell-Lama (like us!) and Section 8 projects by putting us all under rent stabilization regardless of when the developments were built and without the possibility of rent increases under the "unique or peculiar" loophole in the law. (Gluck and other landlords are suing the state's housing agency on this issue, and we're involved.)
  • Repeal vacancy decontrol (to get rid of landlords' incentive to evict rent regulated tenants and to keep more of the stock of affordable housing)
  • Re-instate "home rule" for New York City's Council and Mayor over rent and eviction rules. (Right now, upstate legislators with few tenants in their districts get to make the decisions about New York City tenants. We need decisions made by those who are accountable to us as voters.)
  • Reform the rent guidelines boards in NYC and surrounding counties, requiring them to consider landlord profits as well as costs (right now profits are not considered), and whether a landlord has ignored major housing and health cod violations, and requiring City Council approval of appointees to the RGB, among other changes.
We also want a SUBMETERING bill that will require transparency, bar the landlord's making a profit from this energy conservation, and keep landlords from evicting tenants for failure to pay all or part of their electric bill. Our State Senator Bill Perkins and State Assembly Member Daniel O'Donnell are working on an amendment to O'Donnell's bill from last term.

To get these underway, contact our re-elected

NYS Senator Bill Perkins,, 212-316-9434 and

NYS Assembly Member Daniel O'Donnell, , 212-866-3970.

Congratulate them and and ask them to pass
  • S5284/ A7811

    (Stop "unique or peculiar" increases and put all buildings leaving Mitchell-Lama or Section 8 projects into rent stabilization)
  • S5149B/ A7416A

    (Vacancy decontrol)
  • S1673/ A4069

    (Reinstate home rule over rents & evictions)
  • S 8235 /A 11097

    (Reform the rent guidelines board)
  • A Submetering bill

    to protect tenants from profiteering and eviction, and protect those whose heat comes from electricity.