Slow Progress for Council Anti-Harassment Bills

Stand for Tenant Safety, a coalition of more than 20 housing, neighborhood, and legal services organizations that includes Met Council and the St. Nicks Alliance, is backing a package of 12 bills in the City Council intended to reduce construction as harassment. They include measures that would require the Buildings Department to do a full inspection before allowing construction in a building that’s partially occupied; increase fines for violations and enable the city to put liens on property when owners don’t pay them; require more detailed tenant-protection plans; and concentrate enforcement on buildings, owners, and contractors with a history of violations.

The bills were introduced in the fall of 2015, with sponsors including Antonio Reynoso of Brooklyn and Ben Kallos and Margaret Chin of Manhattan. So far, the Council has held hearings on seven of them, the most recent in April 2016, and taken no action on the others.

“Stand for Tenant Safety is calling on Jumaane Williams and Melissa Mark-Viverito to pass the bills,” says Rolando Guzman. Williams, who chairs the Council Housing Committee, was not available for comment. 

In January, the coalition, along with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, organized meetings in the two boroughs that each drew more than 100 people.