The State Legislature (probably temporarily) adjourned this week, but couldn’t leave Albany without passing a bill, to require rent stabilized lease riders to include information about ancillary service charges and describe them. If that sounds familiar, it’s because the rider already shows those items and amounts. If signed by the Governor, however, the rider will have to be revised within 120 days.
Mayor de Blasio’s plans for higher density housing in East Harlem were opposed by Community Board 11 at a raucous meeting this week. The Board wants lower density and more units affordable to lower income tenants in exchange for approval, but protesters at the meeting opposed any change that might gentrify the neighborhood.
Some City Councilmen want to double the density of Airbnb guests permitted from two to four. The idea is to help B&B owners, but it isn’t clear how it squares with the Council’s general opposition to illegal occupancies. Several Long Island towns are taking the opposite tack. They now prohibit rentals for less than 14 days and want to raise the minimum to 30 days to discourage Airbnb hosts.
A Crown Heights building owner was found guilty, Tuesday, of three misdemeanor counts of illegally evicting tenants. The unusual case was brought by the State Attorney General in 2015. Meanwhile, Governor Cuomo launched a statewide multi-agency investigation of property owners using immigration status to harass tenants after an electrical contractor reportedly sent Queens tenants in a building he was working in a threatening letter.
Ossining, in Westchester County, is considering adopting Rent Stabilization although the consultant hired to review housing options noted that it depresses property taxes, encourages people to misuse space, and doesn’t have anything to do with tenant need.
The Rockland County Rent Guidelines Board on Monday approved increases of 0% for one year renewals and .5% for two year renewals, effective October 1st. New York City, Westchester and Nassau guidelines are all set to be voted this coming Tuesday. CHIP Executive Director Patrick Siconolfi testified at the New York City public hearing and faced a barrage of questions from tenant reps on the Board. His testimony highlighted the Board’s basic math error in considering gross income, including MCIs and Individual Apartment Improvement Increases, but ignoring capital expenses in computing profit margins. In questioning, he surprised the Board with proof of the increased and uncounted cost of compliance. The City Council is passing a housing related bill into law an average of every two and one half weeks this year vs. every two and one half months in 2000, he noted.