State Assembly 36 Zohran Mamdani


Social media: @zohrankmamdani

  1. What type of housing do you currently live in?
    Regulated Rental Apt
  2. Are you, or have you ever been, a landlord?
    1. If yes, where & how many apts. do/did you own?
  3. Does your campaign accept contributions from real estate developers (including related individuals), corporate lobbyists, organizations that participate in the carceral system, and/or landlords?
  4. Have you ever worked in, or had another affiliation with, the Real Estate industry? No
  5. Have any of your campaign or advisory staff held a position as a corporate lobbyist or an executive role with the Real Estate industry?
    1. If so, how can we be assured you will have tenants’ interests in mind?  (250 characters) 

Values and Vision

  • Do you believe housing is a human right?
    • If so, what does that mean to you?   (500 characters)      
      Any and all human rights should be guaranteed by the state. Not a guarantee to access, or a guarantee to an application, but a guarantee to a unit itself. Guaranteed housing is part of a dignified life and must include basic necessities such as clean, hot water; sufficient heating; and should not be overcrowded. Safe housing must also mean clean, unleaded pipes and walls free of mold and asbestos.
  • What type of action have you taken in the past around issues of housing justice? (500 characters)             
    I was a foreclosure prevention housing counselor with Chhaya CDC – helping homeowners facing eviction stay in their homes. As Assemblyman, I’ve organized with tenants in my district to help them take legal action against landlords who have robbed them of heat, electricity, and reasonable rents. I’ve been arrested protesting to extend the eviction moratorium and organized colleagues against the renewal of 421a and to support Good Cause Eviction.
  • What do you think are the most pressing Housing issues & what action would you take to address them as a state representative?  (1000 characters)
    While not exhaustive, some of the most pressing housing issues are a severe deficit of affordable housing units, skyrocketing rents, largely non-existent tenant protections for market rate tenants, and a homelessness crisis that has only been exacerbated by the policy and policing decisions of our municipal and statewide executives.
  • In the long term, we need to change our state’s longstanding policy to largely abandon the housing market to private interests. We can take some steps towards that by expanding tenant protections into market rate housing through Good Cause, ensuring that the state’s successor to 421a seeks to incentivize truly affordable housing, and fully funding HAVP. We can cross the finish line on these pieces of legislation through internal and external organizing as well as communications – three things I pledge to help with in my capacity as a state representative.
  • Have you or anyone close to you (relation, friend, etc) been evicted or been threatened with eviction?
  • Have you ever had to fight a landlord for repairs or faced harassment?
  • Do you believe that housing should be de-commodified?
    • Please explain your answer (500 characters)       
      To treat anything as a commodity within our capitalist economy is to be at ease with it being out of reach for some. As we believe that housing is a human right, we must then ensure that it is not bought or sold on the private market but instead guaranteed by the state. This is the only way to ensure that every single person across our state has housing.
    • We’ve seen how the commodification of housing has been disastrous for middle and working class families all over New York as rents have skyrocketed and displaced our constituents.
  • Do you believe in publicly owned and controlled housing?
  • What is one rent and/or eviction protection you would enact if you had the opportunity?   (500 characters)
    Good Cause Eviction. Over 4 million tenants throughout NYS lack protection from retaliatory evictions or predatory rent hikes. This bill would prevent landlords from evicting tenants without cause, tie justifiable rent increases to inflation, let tenants challenge their evictions in court, give vulnerable tenants the right to remain in their homes, facilitate tenant organizing and stabilize the real estate market by making it harder for predatory landlords to flip properties by evicting tenants.
  • Do you agree that all evictions are bad?
    • If no, why not?   (500 characters)
  • Do you support the concept of universal rent control?

Overview on Housing

  1. Do you support the NYCHA 2.0 Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) and other privatization schemes?
    1. Please explain why or why not (250 characters)
      When we privatize NYCHA housing, we are putting our most vulnerable residents at the whims of corporate landlords and allowing the state to abdicate its duty to its own citizens.
  2. NYCHA has suffered from chronic underfunding, neglect, and disrepair. What do you see as the best strategies to rectify these problems?             (500 characters)            
    The first issue we have to solve with NYCHA is the question of political responsibility. Whenever we have raised this issue in the Assembly, we have been told it is a federal issue. At that level, Schumer’s promise to secure $40 billion for NYCHA is likely dead and I don’t hold much hope for it changing. All to say, I think we need to create a campaign that articulates the state of crisis that NYCHA is currently in and tie that to a specific political and fiscal demand from the state.
  3. Do you support setting aside 15% of all units created in new state-subsidized affordable housing projects for homeless families and individuals?
  4. How would you use your office to put pressure on landlords to make repairs and stop harassing tenants?  (500 characters)
    I have been doing this since I won my primary in 2020  – working with the Astoria Tenants Union, Legal Aid, and Communities Resist to organize with tenants across the district to protect their rights, help them take legal actions against their abusive landlords, and have also used the power of my bully pulpit to get media attention to each of these tenants cases.
  5. Do you support regulating the 300,000 deregulated rent-stabilized apartments?
  6. Will you support increased funding and oversight hearings of DHCR’s Office of Rent Administration to ensure timely responses?
  7. How will you ensure people who owe back rent due to COVID are not evicted and do not continue to owe money?   (500 characters)
    I will fight internally to ensure that ERAP receives sufficient funding so as to clear this COVID-related back rent and will also commit to externally assisting any constituents to whom this applies to in their fights against eviction.
  8. Would you support financial and criminal penalties against landlords and brokers that deny a prospective tenant housing based on using a tenant blacklist?

Current Bills and Campaigns

  • Do you support Good Cause Eviction Protections?
  • If Good Cause is not passed this session, what will you do to ensure it gets passed in 2023?  (500 characters)
    I will continue to organize within the legislature for its passage, working to further publicize and politicize the obstacles, as well as help plan public actions to ensure that this fight breaks into the public consciousness.
  • Will you support ending MCIs?
  • Will you commit to fully funding the Housing Access Voucher Program?
  • Do you support the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA)?
  • How will you support tenants in your district opting into TOPA?  (500 characters)
    Through my Constituent Services Team, we will communicate extensively to constituents about TOPA through physical and electronic mail, canvasses, and general communications work with the media. We will then use the resources of our office to assist constituents in the process of opting in – both in terms of the bureaucratic hurdles and the political ones.
  • Do you support the move to legalize basement apartments and ADUs?
  • Do you support tenants’ right to collective bargaining?
  • Do you support 421a or Gov Hochul’s proposed 485w?
  • Do you support fully funding the Excluded Workers fund?
  • Do you support the “Excluded No More” bill?
  • Are you committed to making sure every tenant in the state has free access to counsel in Housing Court?
  • Will you commit to fully funding statewide Right to Counsel in 2023’s budget?