Three Important Pro-Tenant Bills in Albany

There are dozens of bills pending in the state legislature to strengthen rent and eviction protections, and to reverse the laws that have phased out our affordable rental housing over the last 25 years. The Real Rent Reform Cam- paign, of which Met Council is a charter member, has identified the following three as priorities for the current session, which will end in June.

S3482 This bill would repeal vacancy deregulation, which enables landlords to take vacant apartments out of rent regulation if they can get the rent high enough (and makes it much easier to deregulate them illegally), and restores rent- stabilization protections to 98 percent of the 300,000 to 450,000 units that have lost them since 1994. It’s sponsored by state Senate Democratic leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, whose Westchester County district has the largest number of rent-regulated apartments outside New York City, and 16 other Democratic senators. The Assembly companion is A433, sponsored by Linda Rosenthal of Manhattan and 35 other Democrats.

S6527 This would close the preferential-rent loophole. A preferential rent is a dis- count that landlords can take away when tenants renew their leases—which leads to sudden, massive rent hikes that often force them to give up their homes and move. Some 266,000 families in New York City have preferential rents, meaning they are one lease renewal away from eviction. It’s sponsored by Sen. Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) and 19 other Democrats. The Assembly version is A6285, sponsored by Housing Committee chair Steven Cymbrowitz of Brooklyn and eight other Democrats.)

S1593 This bill would repeal the “statutory vacancy bonus,” a rent increase of 20 percent for a two-year lease that owners can charge every time an apartment turns over. This is often an eviction bonus, as it gives bad landlords an incentive to harass and evict long-term tenants. It’s sponsored by Sen. Jose Serrano (D- Manhattan/Bronx) and 14 other Democrats. The Assembly version is A9815, sponsored by Bronx Assemblymember Victor Pichardo and 11 other Democrats.