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Saturday, May 24, 2014

A Blast from the Past: The Affordable Rent Campaign



Remember when we, and many others in NYC, held hands around Stuy Town and Peter Cooper Village? This complex was chosen for the demonstration because of it being a stronghold and an ideal of affordable middle class housing, the largest in the nation. Did the politicians listen? What was the outcome?


New York Is Our Home: Affordable Rent Campaign
is the work of a comprehensive coalition including dozens of tenant, labor, and political organizations (click on "read more" below to see the full list).
The campaign will take advantage of a unique political opening to press tenant demands. We want to:

  • Repeal Vacancy Decontrol
  • Restore Home Rule Over Rent Laws
  • Stop Unfair Rent Increases and Harassment
  • Preserve Mitchell-Lama and Section 8 Housing
  • Ensure State Funding for NYCHA Housing
  • Limit Rental Payments for New Yorkers with HIV and AIDS
Come to the
AFFORDABLE RENT CAMPAIGN RALLY
  • Wednesday, May 23, 2007
  • 5:00 PM
  • Stuy-Town / Peter Cooper Village
    Avenue B from 14th to 23rd Streets in Manhattan


New York Is Our Home!
Affordable Rent Campaign
 
New York Is Our Home! is a coalition effort of affordable housing groups, labor and the Working Families Party, and headed by Julie Miles of Housing Here & Now .
 
Campaign Platform
With the present crisis as a starting point, losing hundreds of thousands of affordable apartments over the next 10 years would be devastating. But this is precisely what will happen unless strong new policies are put in place quickly. As rents continue to skyrocket, affordable housing protections are eroding.

Rent protections were undermined by the Pataki Administration through 12 years of bad legislation and regulation, jeopardizing the 1.1 million families who live in rent-regulated housing. In addition, thousands of affordable units in Mitchell-Lama, Section 8, and public housing buildings are being lost every year. The State’s Urstadt law makes the problem worse by taking control over rent regulation out of the hands of the elected representatives of the citizens these policies effect, and giving it instead to a body whose majority is not accountable to voters in the affected areas. It must be repealed.

A substantial portion of the housing now within the reach of moderate and middle-income families in New York City, and crucial affordable homes in the surrounding suburbs, are in serious jeopardy.

While the City of New York has recently made record-breaking commitments to create and preserve affordable housing, we cannot simply build our way out of the problem. Although the Mayor’s plan will create 94,000 new affordable units and preserve 71,000 existing units, nearly 1.5 million affordable units are at risk if the State does not act now.
 
What We Need to Do Now to Save Affordable Housing in New York!

Repeal “Vacancy Decontrol”
 
Vacancy decontrol rule introduced in the early 90’s is eliminating rent-regulated apartments at an ever-accelerating pace.

As a result of changes in the rent laws initiated in 1994, rent-stabilized apartments can be deregulated when they become vacant as long as the new rent can be pushed over $2,000. Vacancy decontrol has provided an incentive for landlords to do everything possible to raise rents, and to get tenants out of apartments, so that they can permanently escape from rent regulation. Vacancy increases and “major capital improvements” mean that even apartments with existing rents far below the $2,000 threshold are at serious risk. Over time, vacancy decontrol will lead to the total repeal of rent regulation.

The impact has been, and will continue to be, devastating. Studies show a loss of 300,000 units since 1994. The rate of losses is only accelerating with time. Over the next 10 years an ADDITIONAL 300,000 apartments in New York City – almost 1/3 of the total remaining rent-regulated stock – are likely to be decontrolled, and increasing numbers of the 100,000 rent regulated apartments in Nassau, Westchester, and Rockland are also at risk.

Vacancy decontrol needs to be repealed to stop the hemorrhage of irreplaceable affordable housing in New York. Statutory change is also needed to prevent landlords from deregulating units by illegally registering them as decontrolled.

Roll Back the Pataki Anti-Tenant Program: Restore Fairness to the Administration of rent regulations.
 
A series of DHCR regulations and practices implemented during the Pataki Administration overwhelmingly favor landlords over tenants, and allow illegitimate rent increases and evictions.Governor Spitzer can and must reverse these changes.

Important steps that must be taken to restore fairness and protect tenants include:
  • Slow the loss of units: End the practice of granting landlords across the board “Unique or Peculiar” permission to raise rents to landlords in Mitchell-Lama buildings leaving the program; restrict demolition evictions to buildings that will be razed; tighten NYC owner-use eviction rules; require the DHCR to enforce a strict registration system.
  • Prevent displacing rent increases: repeal the 2003 preferential rent rule that allows big hikes in the rents in poor and gentrifying communities; tighten the rules for rent increase applications for major capitol improvements (MCI’s) and for individual apartment increases and prevent fraud; shift the burden of proving deregulation onto landlords; limit rent increases on vacancy; end the practice of allowing permanent increases for improvements.
  • Protect tenants: protect tenants from harassment which could force them out of their apartments; make procedures efficient, transparent, and accessible to tenants; remove the right to evict tenants and subtenants from regulated apartments for splitting the rent less than exactly equally; and allow the addition of non-traditional family members to the lease.
(Please see additional fact sheet that details this section of the platform)
Retain the affordability of ALL Mitchell-Lama and Section 8 developments when their initial contracts expire.
 
Tens of thousands of affordable Mitchell-Lama apartments have already been lost. There are more than 40,000 Mitchell-Lama rental apartments and some 47,000 homes in Section 8 properties that need to be protected. A comprehensive plan to respond to this crisis must include protections for tenants, incentives to preserve Mitchell-Lama, and enforcement of the highest standards for Mitchell- Lama landlords.
  • Extend rent regulations to all developments: Today, Mitchell-Lama and Section 8 projects built before 1974 are permanently covered by rent regulation when their contracts expire, but still face enormous rent increases through a loophole in the law that allows a landlord to argue that “unique or peculiar circumstances” exempt them from the rent laws. Tenants in developments built after 1973 are NOT COVERED by rent regulations if they opt out of these programs. Rent regulations must be extended to ALL Mitchell Lama and Section 8 buildings when their contracts expire, regardless of when they were built … along the lines of legislation proposed by Mayor Bloomberg, and all must be safeguarded from “unique or peculiar” increases that could raise their rents to market rate.
  • Declare a moratorium on buyouts: New York State should declare a moratorium on all Mitchell Lama buyouts. This moratorium should last until such time as New York State has developed its preservation agenda and until such time as DHCR has issued a report which explains how the agency will enforce the State’s preservation plan and how it will avoid its past mistakes and missteps.
  • Provide a right of first refusal: The State should enact legislation that gives tenants, and tenant selected qualified buyers, a right of first refusal to purchase these buildings, at prices set by an appraisal board.
  • Enforce existing provisions: DHCR should prohibit landlords who have violated the terms of any of their obligations from benefiting from buyouts.
  • Offer incentives for preservation: DHCR/HFA should establish better refinancing tools and enhancements for Mitchell-Lama landlords who are willing to remain in the subsidy programs.
(Please see additional fact sheet that pertains to this section of the platform)
 
Preserve State-Built Public Housing.
 
From 1958 to 1974, New York State constructed and paid for operated costs for public housing units statewide. In 1998, Governor Pataki eliminated the funding desperately needed to maintain this vital and aging housing stock. $70 million per year is needed to support the 20,000 state units that are left (many have been sold off because of the lack of operating subsidies).

Further, to make up for the deficit left by the State’s divestment, NYCHA has proposed taking 8400 Section 8 vouchers to use in public housing. On August 16, 2006, Eliot Spitzer pledged that if he were governor, he would support State public housing and restore State operating subsidies. Currently, the governor's budget does not include this critical funding.
 
Limit Rental Payments for New Yorkers living with AIDS to 30% of Income
 
There are more than 10,000 poor New Yorkers receiving rental assistance throughout NY State who are being forced to contribute all of their income except for $330 per month towards their rent. That means that they are being forced to survive on just $11 per day.

All other rental assistance programs cap the amount that tenants have to contribute towards their rent to just 30% of their income.

State legislation is needed to end the discrimination against New Yorkers living with AIDS. Most recently, the Spitzer administration reversed this policy for tenants living in supportive housing, but the policy needs to be changed for 10,000+ tenants living with AIDS in all other types of housing.

Pass S2890 and A5473, legislation that will cap the amount that low-income people living with AIDS receiving rental assistance to only 30% of their income.

For more information please contact Tenants & Neighbors at 212-608-4320 x 404, or email info@tandn.org, or check the website: www.NewYorkIsOurHome.com


8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was always under the impression, until recently, that the TA worked toward the same goals as Tenants and Neighbors. Now the leadership is more interested in owning this place than anything else.

Anonymous said...

Follow it in the NY Times

The entire city has been fighting NYU's greed of real estate gifts, top over-pay, and greedy expansion plan. The west village just got a win in the courts. John Sexton's well documented greed has finally bitten him with students, faculty, communities calling for him to step down and he is in 2016. Mr Lipton has to be soon too!

Bill Rudin Brookfield / Michael Novogratz Fortress both are NYU Board Members playing the same game to get prime west village and pcvst real estate. Both have been stabbing communities in the heart. Seems maybe one just stabbed the other in the back.

All hands are dirty in the land grab by NYU and neither Fortress or Brookfield would be good for PCVST and its residents. We cant lose sight of the PCVST land grab with over 25% of our apartments now converted dorms with wall partitions (source DOB).

One is no better than the other. Brookfield and Fortress will bury us. We have to keep our eye on a third way and focus on getting there.

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2014/03/19/after_a_long_war_can_nyu_and_the_village_ever_make_peace.php


http://nypost.com/2010/03/31/nyu-land-grab/
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/13/education/edlife/the-power-broker-of-nyu.html?_r=0

Anonymous said...

Mitch Rudin is CEO Brookfield. He is not related to Bill Rudin but they are close friends.

Anonymous said...

Thank the Republican-controlled State Senate in the past and the current rogue Democrats in the State Senate for shafting tenants. If you were at the 5/10 TA meeting, you heard that Cathy Young, head of the senate's housing committee won't let the senate version of Brian Kavanagh's bills come to the floor. I've never done it because I've always thought that outside money should stay out of local elections, but I think it's time to contribute to upstate Democratic candidates for State Senate. I'm certainly not looking to Cuomo for comfort--I don't see that he's done anything to corral the rogue Democrats.

Anonymous said...

We need to do something now. People are starting to react and focus at the TA facebook site. I won't rally with the TA. I don't support the Brookfield deal. More likely to rally for principles agreed upon here at this site.

Anonymous said...



Rogue democrats? The NY version have always been shifty and you are and were a fool to ever vote or think otherwise…...

Anonymous said...

Years ago the TA used to be disabled by internal squabbling. Can see no point calling each other names at a time when unified group action is the only leverage we have.

Anonymous said...

10:22 AM

The GOP once owned a big majority in the state senate. Thanks to changing demographics, that has been changing. In 2008, Democrats finally won a majority of seats (32 of 62 seats) for the first time in over half a century. Then all hell broke loose. As planned.

Former GOP majority leader Joe Bruno knew this was coming and formed a strategy for continuing his party's domination: find "Democrats In Name Only" and run them in overwhelmingly Democratic districts - then keep them as Dems and hold them in reserve in case the Dems ever take the majority. It was called "the Kruger Plan," named after Carl Kruger, former member of the "Gang of Three." Kruger is now in jail for corruption, like fellow member Pedro Espada,

To see how Bruno's plan has worked out in practice see here and here.

That's what 12:46 AM is talking about. Pro tenant legislation that regularly passes in the Assembly goes to the State Senate to die. That's why tenant activists focus so intently on flipping the State Senate to Dems. The Kruger Plan/State Senate Independent Democratic Conference is another roadblock.

The Democrats are more hapless than shifty. I know, for a fact, that repeal of vacancy decontrol was finally about to go to the floor for a vote back in June, 2008. Then, the day before that vote was supposed to take place, Pedro Espada and the Gang of Three flipped and gave control back to the GOP. Tenant activists and Dems were genuinely caught off guard by it. I am convinced that repeal of vacancy decontrol was the major factor behind the coup and that the coup was bought and paid for by the RE industry.