State Assembly 75 Tony Simone


Social media: @tonysimone @tonywsimone

  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? Yes
  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) 
      I briefly held a broker license which further demonstrated to me that we have a housing crisis. My support for tenants is inflexible, I do not accept money from RE or Corp PACs but have accepted donations from close friends in the RE industry.

Values and Vision

  • Do you believe housing is a human right?
    • If so, what does that mean to you?   (500 characters)      
      The right to housing should be a constitutional amendment. Everyone, regardless of immigration status, family structure, and income deserves safe, stable, decent affordable housing that is regulated, and not subject to free market volatility. Housing is also health care and critical to a person’s well-being. Government must recognize this and prioritize it. Also, without regulation, abusive landlords are free to excessively increase rents, harass tenants and remove people from their homes.
  • What type of action have you taken in the past around issues of housing justice? (500 characters)             
    I have attended rallies & when I worked for the NYC Council & State Senate, I helped write testimony against RGB rent increases. I met with tenant advocacy organizations and worked on tenant protection legislation. I rallied in Albany to fight vacancy decontrol & support rent protections. I fought bad landlords when they didn’t provide adequate maintenance, heat or utilities, & advised tenants on their rights, referring them to tenant advocacy orgs & attorneys when they were harassed.
  • What do you think are the most pressing Housing issues & what action would you take to address them as a state representative?  (1000 characters)
    Homelessness, the lack of affordable housing, deregulation of hundreds of thousands of units, and the lack of rent regulation for market rate apartments are the most important housing issues facing New Yorkers. I would champion the Housing Access Voucher Program, the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act, good cause eviction, bills to increase supply such as legalizing accessory dwelling units, and increasing transit-oriented development in the suburbs and incentives (that don’t hurt tenants like 421A/485 do) to build affordable housing because it’s doubtful to get done otherwise unless publicly built. I would work to re-regulate the three hundred thousand units that were deregulated under prior law. I would like to propose a constitutional amendment for the right to safe and affordable housing and support statewide rent stabilization legislation.
  • 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)       
      While I believe that current incentives to build affordable housing are insufficient and I support public control of new housing, if one chooses, I am not sure if decommodifying all housing is the answer. I have to learn more about it. I support policies that would contribute to the de-commodification of housing such as capping rent increases, denying evictions without good cause, right to counsel for tenants and building new housing to reduce the pressure of the lack of supply on housing costs.
  • 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)
    I would enact protections for all renters across the state, both residential and commercial, through universal rent stabilization. Tenants are in a crisis of rapidly rising rents from Buffalo to Brooklyn, and setting a defined threshold of what constitutes an unreasonable rent increase as well as ensuring that threshold is influenced by pro-tenant voices would provide long term security & predictability to renters. New York must be a state that recognizes housing as a human right.
  • 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)
      Years of defunding & failed promises has led to distrust between residents & NYCHA. Yet privatization is concerning. RAD can provide needed renovations but residents must also gain strengthened protections & rights and be engaged in the process.
  2. NYCHA has suffered from chronic underfunding, neglect, and disrepair. What do you see as the best strategies to rectify these problems?             (500 characters)            
    NYS is in a strong budgetary position and can afford directing funds towards the rehabilitation and operating costs of public housing. In Chelsea, the local elected
  3. officials created a working group. It included residents, NYCHA, the city admin, experts & advocates and created a model resident-driven plan. Renovations will take place under RAD, with strengthened resident protections and rights, and never before seen resident engagement in the developer selection process.
  5. Do you support setting aside 15% of all units created in new state-subsidized affordable housing projects for homeless families and individuals?
  6. How would you use your office to put pressure on landlords to make repairs and stop harassing tenants?  (500 characters)
    Threatening bad landlords with an HP action can be motivating. My office would use every tool at our disposal to protect tenants & ensure the appropriate city and state agencies are doing their jobs. I would help organize rallies and gain media attention to shine a spotlight on bad landlords who neglect their responsibilities and harass their tenants. I would use SM, and our communications to educate tenants of their rights, connect them to legal resources and be with them every step of the way.
  7. Do you support regulating the 300,000 deregulated rent-stabilized apartments?
  8. Will you support increased funding and oversight hearings of DHCR’s Office of Rent Administration to ensure timely responses?
  9. 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 am glad to see the state budget include additional funds for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. I will support funding this program until all tenants who experienced hardship during the pandemic receive assistance and will support protections from eviction while their applications are being processed.
  10. 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)
    If it is not passed this year, then beyond signing on as a co-sponsor, I will work with fellow legislators and organizations such as Met Council, HJ4A, and NYS Tenants & Neighbors to coordinate campaign strategy and messaging. I have always believed in the power of coalitions to accomplish important things. I will be sure to use social media & put articles in my newsletters about the bill to educate people to counter the misinformation out there.
  • 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)
    I would use social media and other communications and hold educational events for tenants on how TOPA can be used. I would seek out support from organizations to help tenants interested in purchasing their building. If TOPA is passed and becomes widely used, it has the potential to bring new stability to communities and reduce the harms of neglectful landlords.
  • 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?