State Assembly 81 Jeffrey Dinowitz


Social media: @JeffreyDinowitz @jeffreydinowitz81ad

  1. What type of housing do you currently live in?
    Own a co-op, condo or private home
  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)      
      Shelter is a basic need for human beings. Homes create and offer stability, security, and comfort for people. Land is a finite resource, and it is imperative that we protect peoples’ homes so that we can establish stability and strength in our communities. Our housing policies should reflect this reality.
  • What type of action have you taken in the past around issues of housing justice? (500 characters)             
    My start in political work was through tenant advocacy and outreach as a teenager. My entire tenure in Albany has been motivated by pro-tenant ideology, as reflected in the monumental anti-eviction laws that I authored and enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic: COVID-19 Emergency Eviction & Foreclosure Prevention Act and Tenant Safe Harbor Act. I have also authored, fought for, and passed other laws to restrict fees from landlords, to enforce court-ordered repairs, and other key issues.
  • What do you think are the most pressing Housing issues & what action would you take to address them as a state representative?  (1000 characters)
    The most pressing housing issue right now is ensuring that all tenants going through housing court have access to sufficient legal representation. There are a number of strong eviction protections still in effect for tenants who are being taken to court by landlords due to hardship from the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is critical that tenants know what their legal rights are. I am a co-sponsor of statewide Right to Counsel legislation and advocate for is consistently.
  • We also need to address the burgeoning potential for conversion deregulation systems from real estate developers who want to circumvent our system of rent regulations. This is a problem among unsold share apartments in coop conversion buildings as well as rent stabilized buildings where the landlord alters the size of an apartment in order to apply for deregulation.
  • 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)       
      There is a finite amount of land available for homes, just as there is a finite amount of clean water available for drinking. We should treat housing for what it is – a basic human need – instead of a profit-motivated industry. There are obviously realities in our current housing landscape that complicate the implementation of this ideology, but we should maintain a core principle that profits do not govern housing policy.
  • 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 statewide Right to Counsel, although I believe we should look at strengthening the language around whether a case is allowed to proceed without the offer of tenant representation. We should also provide continued funding to support the hiring and retaining of housing attorneys who are able to participate in this program.
  • Do you agree that all evictions are bad?
    • If no, why not?   (500 characters)
      I think most evictions are bad, especially from a theoretical construct in that any situation whereby someone is removed from their home is the result of a bad situation, but I believe there are some evictions which are appropriate. For example, a tenant using an apartment for criminal activity like drug dealing or causing significant and consistent and possibly dangerous disturbances to neighbors would be an appropriate eviction.
  • 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)
      I understand and appreciate the need for NYCHA to gain access to capital dollars. However, the current proposals lack sufficient resident protections and open the door to privatization of public housing.
  2. NYCHA has suffered from chronic underfunding, neglect, and disrepair. What do you see as the best strategies to rectify these problems?             (500 characters)            
    I think we need to explore policy changes which enable NYCHA to better access to bondable revenue sources which are capable of funding the immense backlog of capital repairs, as well as provide reliable operational support to quickly address day-to-day maintenance needs. However, these cannot be revenue sources that open the door to privatization, such as prior proposals to sell air rights or development rights to public spaces within NYCHA developments.
  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)
    My office handles hundreds of constituent cases each year pertaining to housing issues, many of which pertain to unmet repair needs. My staff and I have a wealth of experience with housing advocacy and L&T proceedings, and we frequently assist tenants in getting what they need or with connecting them to appropriate legal services should the need arise.
  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 authored and enacted the Tenant Safe Harbor Act, which prohibits the eviction of a tenant for non-payment of rent that became due during the COVID-19 pandemic and if the tenant experienced financial hardship during this period. The next step is to ensure that all tenants facing eviction know and understand this right, which I do through my office whenever a tenant calls for help.
  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 advocate for Good Cause legislation publicly and among colleagues. We need to keep working together to establish a broader consensus among legislators throughout the state. I think some people may not quite understand what exactly this legislation would do (particularly the part about who it would apply to).
  • 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)
    As I do with any group of tenants that is organizing in their building, my office is always available to help in whatever way we can. Historically, we have helped tenant groups communicate with their landlord, garner media attention, host tenant meetings, connect with legal services or housing organizers, and more.
  • 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?