District  82 Jonathan Soto            

Will you publicize an endorsement from Met Council Action?  Yes             

Will you pledge to meet with us regularly?  Yes

What type of housing do you live in?  Own co-op, condo, or private home

Are you now, or have you ever been a landlord?  No

If yes, how many units?

Does your campaign accept contributions from real estate developers (including related individuals), corporate lobbyists, organizations that participate in the carceral system, and/or landlords?  No

Have you ever worked in, or had another affiliation with, the Real Estate industry?  No

Have any of your campaign or advisory staff held a position as a corporate lobbyist or an executive role with the Real Estate industry? No

If so, how can we be assured you will have tenants’ interests in mind?  

Do you believe housing is a human right? Yes

If so, what does that mean to you?  As a socialist, I believe that housing is NOT an investments, but a public good. One of the best ways to decommodify housing is through the proposed Green Social Housing bill.

What actions have you taken in the past to fight for housing justice?  Last month, I attended, marched, and spoke during a Tenants Rally/Day of Action in Albany, — which was coordinated by Housing Justice for All. It was thrilling to fight alongside so many tenants fighting for dignified housing for all.

What are the most pressing housing issues, and what would you do as an elected official to address them?   To mitigate New York’s housing crisis, we must not only build more housing but make sure that said housing is deeply affordable to the state’s working class and low-income residents. Any housing construction must be paired with even stronger tenant protection laws to ensure that folks can remain in their homes.

Have you or anyone close to you (family, friend, etc) been evicted or been threatened with eviction?  Yes

Have you ever had to fight a landlord for repairs or faced harassment?  Yes

Do you believe that housing should be decommodified? Yes

Please explain your answer. As a socialist, I believe that housing is NOT an investments, but a public good. One of the best ways to decommodify housing is through the proposed Green Social Housing bill.

Do you believe in publicly owned and controlled housing?  Yes

What is one rent and/or eviction protection you would enact if you had the opportunity?  First and foremost, Good Cause Eviction.

Do you agree that all evictions are bad?  Yes

Why or why not?  Evictions are violent in nature. Entire families are displaced in a matter of hours — children are often forced to leave school, parents are forced to navigate the city’s unforgiving shelter system, and a black mark is attached to them for when they try and find their next home. On top of the damage done to the tenant, it costs the city and state more to have evictions than to keep people in their homes with vouchers, rental support, and more.

Do you support the concept of universal rent control?  Yes

Do you support the NYCHA 2.0 Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) and other privatization schemes?  No

Please explain why or why not RAD creates another avenue for privatization and poses an existential risk to public housing.  Repairs are desperately needed in NYCHA, yet a repair that is done in exchange for increasing the possibility for privatization is not the right approach.

What do you see as the best strategies to rectify these problems?  The quickest, yet most difficult strategy to rectify NYCHA’s chronic underfunding rests with hope of attaining a Democratic trifecta at the federal level — and in turn passing a version of Build Back Better that provides billions in funding to NYCHA. However, given the widespread disrepair throughout NYCHA, the pipe dream of federal funds cannot be waited on — which is why it is imperative that New York State steps up to foot part of the bill. New York’s budget is one-quarter of a Trillion dollars — there are ample funds to finance repairs to NYCHA.

How would you use your office to put pressure on landlords to make repairs and stop harassing tenants?  I intend to turn my office into a hub for constituent services — where my staff will be abreast on all the tools available to tenants through city and state agencies like HPD, DHCR, DOB, and more. Tenants should know that they can come to my office to receive help for their complaints — like fighting off landlord harassment and illegal rent overcharges, or simply getting timely repairs done.

Do you support regulating the 300,000 deregulated rent-stabilized apartments? Yes

Will you support increased funding and oversight hearings of DHCR’s Office of Rent Administration to ensure timely responses on overcharge complaints and rent reduction orders for hazardous conditions?  Yes

Do you support stronger penalties against landlords that practice source of income discrimination? Yes

Do you support Good Cause Eviction Protections?  Yes

What will you do to ensure Good Cause gets passed this session?  I traveled to Albany to fight for Good Cause Eviction last month, and I am willing to do everything I can throughout my campaign to increase pressure on the incumbent to support Good Cause.

Will you support ending MCIs?  Yes

Will you commit to fully funding the Housing Access Voucher Program?  Yes

Do you support the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA)?  Yes

How will you support tenants in your district opting into TOPA?  My office will be on standby to provide assistance to help tenants navigate the TOPA process, including many of the arcane rules and regulations surrounding cooperative ownership.

Do you support the move to legalize basement apartments and Accessory dwelling units?  Yes

Do you support 421a or Gov Hochul’s proposed 485w?  No

Do you support fully funding the Unemployment Bridge Program (S3192 | A4821)?  Yes

Do you support the vacancy reset bill?  No

Are you committed to making sure every tenant in the state has free access to counsel in Housing Court by fully funding Right to Counsel in 2025’s budget?  Yes

What will you do to ensure that OCA makes proceedings for tenants facing eviction fair by slowing down cases to match the capacity of legal service providers?  Yes

Do you support the creation of a Social Housing Development Authority?  Yes

Do you support legislation to reform the NYC Rent Guidelines Board?  Yes

Do you support the Universal Rent Control bill (to be introduced) – do you support expanding rent regulation to smaller buildings?  Yes

Do you support increasing the Individual Apartment Increases (IAI) allowance?  No