Wednesday, May 25, 2011

On May 25, 2011, Albany reached a deal on the Property Tax Cap - yes, the bill that the Assembly "wouldn't pass" unless the rent laws were renewed and strengthened.  But so far the rent laws have not been either renewed or strengthened.
(1) Sign a Petition to the Governor if you haven't already.

(2) Go to ALBANY on JUNE 1st by bus. (Read below.)

While many rent-regulated New Yorkers have been told by newspapers, TV and radio that the Rent Laws that sunset on June 15 are certain to be renewed, the Real Estate lobby has been busily slipping into the State legislature’s agenda seven separate bills that, if enacted into law, would destroy almost all protections we now enjoy.

Using as their vehicle Senator Catherine Young, a Housing Committee chair from a small upstate city 322 miles from here - rumored to have more cows than people, and where the words “rent regulated” are probably unknown, they have managed to get voted out of committee and ready for Senate passage destructive bills that would accomplish the following.  (Note: Only someone whose constituents are not affected by these changes would dare to sponsor these bills.  The compressed material that follows is drawn from the summaries Senator Young filed with the bills):

•    If a tenant fails to file a city or state tax return, a landlord can claim that the apartment is not the primary residence.  (Don’t earn enough to pay State taxes?  Watch it!)

•    A landlord can make the claim that an apartment is not the tenant’s primary residence at any time during the tenant’s lease, not only at lease renewal.  (Some landlords do this now, but it’s not legal.)

•    Property owners may apply vacancy increases when family members succeed to tenancy of a rent-regulated apartment upon the permanent departure of the initial tenant.  (Married an initial tenant who thoughtlessly died?  Tough.)

•    At present, in order to face high rent/high income decontrol, a tenant must have a federal adjusted gross income of $175,000 for each of the two prior years.  This bill makes a switch to gross, not adjusted gross income and to an average of $175,000 for the prior two years, not for each of the prior two years. (The Feds allow deductions for tuition and fees or your IRA contribution but they don’t get you off the decontrol hook.)

•    The way is eased for property owners to obtain possession of apartments occupied by rent-stabilized tenants by claiming that they need the space for personal use.

•    The monthly rent “threshold” for deregulating an apartment is reduced from $2,000 to $1,500 - so even honest building owners who want to take an apartment out of rent regulation have to put in fewer improvements.  (For owners who already put in less than they need to, this law is a joke.)

•    And to cap it all off, there’s the bill that would overturn or obliterate retroactively the State Court of Appeals landmark Roberts ruling on J-51 (which does not apply to our building). That ruling forbids owners from de-stabilizing apartments while the owner receives tax breaks to make improvements.


GET ON THE BUS TO ALBANY on JUNE 1.  Join other tenants for a Rolling Town Hall, then a Rally and visits to legislators on Wednesday, June 1st. Sign up: or call  Tenants & Neighbors: 212-608-4320 ext. 316.

DISTRIBUTE FLYERS  in front of Governor Cuomo’s office, each Thursday until June 15th 12:30 to 2:00 PM and 4:30 to 6:00 PM.

PHONE  Governor Cuomo's Midtown office at (212) 681-4580  or Albany office at (518) 486-9749 and ask him to 
  • strengthen rent regulations, 
  • repeal Vacancy Destabilization
  • put all buildings out of Mitchell-Lama into rent stabilization without “unique or peculiar” increases
 and do it all without harming the Roberts decision.  

Ask your neighbors to do the same.

FAX  Governor's Cuomo and ask him to strengthen rent regulations, repeal Vacancy Destabilization and do it all without harming the Roberts  J-51 decision.  

To sign up for the bus or flyering activities please contact or call  Tenants & Neighbors: 212-608-4320 ext. 316.