6 JUNE 6, 2019 RIDGEWOOD TIMES WWW.QNS.COM
Nine-bill rent reform package nears approval
BY MAX PARROTT
As the clock runs down on
the nine-bill “universal rent
control” package in the state
Legislature, there is a push to vote on
them before New York’s rent control
laws expire on June 15.
It looks like the progressive
lawmakers behind the package have
secured the support needed to pass all
nine bills in the now Democratically
“Following a long discussion within
the Senate Majority Conference, it is
clear that we have support for all
nine priority housing bills,” Democrat
Senate Majority Leader Andrea
Stewart-Cousins said Tuesday in a
statement. Meanwhile, the fact that
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has not
made a corresponding announcement
indicates uncertainty in the other
Of the nine bills that would end
vacancy decontrol and the vacancy
bonus and address a number of
other loopholes that leave tenants
vulnerable to bad landlords, one
stands out among as a particularly
wide-reaching and controversial:
Bushwick Senator Julia Salazar’s good
cause eviction bill.
Framed as an amendment to the
property laws governing eviction,
the bill would give tenants recourse
from being driven out of their
home by excessive rent hikes. The
amendment would make it illegal for
a landlord to force a tenant out based
on an “unconscionable” rent increase
– defi ned 150 percent of the infl ation
rate or a 3.3 percent increase, based
on New York’s average infl ation over
the past 19 years. To evict a tenant,
a landlord would need to prove
nuisance, illegal activity and a breach
of the lease.
“And so a tenant could say to a
landlord who doesn’t want to renew
their lease, ‘Nope, that’s not enough.
You’ve got to demonstrate why I’m not
entitled to remain in this apartment in
court,'” said Sateesh Nori, the attorneyin
charge of the Queens Civil Offi ce of
The Legal Aid Society.
Nori, who has spent all of his 18-year
career in housing court, said that the
new legislation would play out in court
in the same way that rent regulation
“That’s a higher standard. And so
for many landlords who were just
speculating or want to charge a little
bit higher rent, but something that’s
unaffordable to most people, they
might think twice because their cost
of entry into housing court is a little
bit higher,” he said.
At a recent town hall on the
legislation in Ridgewood, Senator
Michael Gianaris pointed out that
the measure is encountering the most
resistance because it’s the only one of
the nine that would provide protection
to people who are not rent-regulated.
He said that he thinks it scares the real
estate industry for this reason.
The bill’s greater uncertainty in
the assembly than in the senate is
refl ected among Queens legislators.
Only two out of seven Queens senators
have not co-sponsored the legislation,
while seven out of 18 Queens Assembly
members have not supported it.
Read more at QNS.com.
File photo: Mark Hallum/QNS
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