Thursday, June 11, 2015

Rent laws are expiring. Vigil Sunday, June 14, 2015, from 6-9 PM at Gov. Cuomo's office in Manhattan

Governor Cuomo: "Step Up or Step Down- We Can't Afford to Wait!"  

Cuomo's Manhattan office, 
633 Third Ave. (40th-41st St.)

Statement from the Real Rent Reform Campaign Regarding Governor Cuomo’s Ever-Changing Position on Stronger Rent Laws

This morning’s announcement by Governor Cuomo that there is “not enough time” to pass stronger rent laws for New York’s 2.5 million rent-regulated tenants is an unacceptable abdication of responsibility and leadership. 

Less than a week ago, the Governor claimed to be ready to fight for tenants by ending the failed experiment of vacancy decontrol and closing numerous landlord-friendly loopholes that were the product of corruption in Albany.  Today, tenants learned that those words were as empty and insincere as they had feared.

Governor Cuomo was elected to clean up Albany and make it functional again.  Instead, today’s statements are the equivalent of waving the white flag of surrender to corruption and dysfunction.

To be clear, if the Governor chooses to show the leadership and commitment that we know he is capable of, there is enough time for him to do his job.  There is enough time for him to keep his word.  There is enough time for him to do the right thing for millions of rent-regulated tenants in New York City and the three suburban counties who have suffered at the hands of Albany corruption for too long, by passing the stronger rent laws that he promised.   The Governor must not surrender his responsibility now.

The State Assembly is going back to Albany for a conference on Sunday at 6:00 pm, to hear a report on where things stand and make decisions for Monday.

The Assembly is now printing a bill for a short extender, reportedly for two weeks, of everything (rent laws, coop laws, 421-a, lofts, J51, basically everything that is expiring), so it will be "live" on Monday so the Assembly will have the option of passing it.

From Michael McKee, Treasurer, Tenants Political Action Committee (slightly edited)  :

Today Gov. Cuomo made a pathetic offer to the Assembly on rent.  Fortunately the Assembly's Democratic Conference rejected them.  Here is what Cuomo proposed: 

  • Raise the deregulation threshold from $2,500 to $2,700 (This is meaningless; see fact sheet we distributed in Albany on Tuesday.)
  • Put the Tenant Protection Unit (TPU)  in a statute.  (This is not really needed as the court has already approved the TPU, despite landlord appeal)
  • Landlords barred from applying for an MCI if there are more than a certain number of violations.  (THis is meaningless, especially considering how bad DHCR is on MCIs: the fines for violations are low, so the landlords pay the fines, then file for Major Capital Improvement increases.)
  • Increased fines for landlord harassment of tenants (completely meaningless:  judges are not imposing current fines, and tenants never win harassment cases in the first place).
  • 8-year extender of the rent regulation laws to 2023 (a disaster: there will be nothing left by then, and Cuomo will be long gone).
  • Straight extender of 421-a. (No change to the current tax breaks for billionaires.)

So much for his Daily News Op-Ed of last Saturday. Andrew’s real estate buddies would be very happy with this package!

If Carl Heastie were to agree to this, or anything like it, rent regulation is finished in New York State.

Fortunately, Heastie brought this proposal to the Assembly Democratic conference, which rejected it in its entirety.

Here is media so far from today's action (Includes Channel 2 video)

NY Daily News

Also see  Univision and Channel 7 

Cuomo's Manhattan office, 633 Third Ave. (40th-41st Streets)