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Rent Reforms

New York lawmakers pushed through a sweeping package of rent laws that will strengthen protections for vulnerable tenants. For decades, we have advocated to keep our city affordable for all New Yorkers.

On June 14, Governor Cuomo signed into law the most progressive rent regulation reforms in New York State. The package of bills expands rent regulations statewide, closes loopholes that have allowed landlords to force tenants out of their homes, and strengthens protections for renters across our city.

The Housing Justice for all Coalition and The Legal Aid Society unveiled the 2020 New York State legislative housing agenda on October 16, which seeks to build on these historic housing reforms.

“The idea of providing housing subsidies for the poorest New Yorkers to live in homes instead of homeless shelters is incredibly important. The upstate-downstate housing alliance is coming off a pretty significant win for tenants from last year but we didn’t win everything on our agenda,” said Ellen Davidson, Staff Attorney with the Civil Law Reform Unit at The Legal Aid Society.

The coalition’s 2020 priorities are:

Good Cause Eviction
Every tenant in New York should live free from the fear of eviction – either formal, through housing court, or informal, through the landlords’ decision not to renew the lease, or a sudden rent hike. Rent stabilized tenants benefit from the right to renew their leases, and from protections against large rent hikes. Good cause eviction would guarantee all New York renters, in non-owner occupied buildings, the right to renew the lease with regular annual rent increases.

Home Stability Support (HSS)
92,000 people across the State of New York are homeless – a number that has grown dramatically under Governor Cuomo. The long term solution to the homelessness crisis is both an end to evictions and a dramatic increase in the number of social and supportive housing. However, New Yorkers need immediate action to address the current crisis. HSS is a statewide rent supplement for low-income families and individuals who are facing eviction, homelessness, or loss of housing due to domestic violence or hazardous conditions. HSS helps bridge the difference between public assistance shelter allowance and fair market rents.

Invest in Public Housing Statewide
Public housing is in a state of severe disrepair. State Legislature must invest $3 billion annually to fix and preserve public housing, with $2 billion directed to NYCHA. In order to be successful, public housing must be fully funded and democratically controlled by organized residents, labor, and other stakeholders. It must be energy efficient and capable of withstanding extreme weather events. Privatization and housing should never mix, and Albany must allocate funding to address repairs and operations.

Tax the Rich to fund a NY Homes Guarantee
These wasteful tax subsidies cost New York State billions annually, encourage gentrification, reward Cuomo’s campaign donors, and provide no meaningful benefit to New Yorkers. We are calling on the State legislature to end these corrupt tax subsidies and instead invest in communities.

Other major Housing Justice for All priorities call on Albany to develop and preserve 600,000 units of social housing over the next 10 years to ensure every New Yorker has a home they can afford; to enact legislation that would afford residents the first opportunity to purchase rental buildings and manufactured home communities that are up for sale or demolition; to invest in healthy and habitable homes, to eliminate the costly and ineffective 485-a and 421-a tax subsidies for big developers and adopt other fair-share revenue proposals; and to implement other critical reforms that New Yorkers need.

Read the latest news on our housing work here.


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