Cuomo Pushes Rent Control

Governor Cuomo wants to move quickly this Spring to end “vacancy decontrol,” presumably meaning either luxury decontrol or vacancy allowances, if Democrats take a Westchester Senate seat in a special election next week. It’s part of his plan to move left to undercut his primary challenge from Cynthia Nixon and to pressure State Sen. Simcha Felder to rejoin mainline Democrats.

Discounting rent increases based on tenant rent burdens “confiscates property…In so doing, the RGB has transformed a statutory price control into a public assistance program funded directly by property owners,” according to testimony submitted by CHIP Counsel Joseph Condon to the Rent Guidelines Board, Thursday. The Board, meanwhile, has announced public hearing dates in June and a final vote June 26th. Plan to testify at one of the hearings!

New York City is developing regulations for posting Energy Letter Grades in apartment buildings  beginning in 2020, but the Energy Star scores the ratings are based on are being modified this month in a way that will lower scores based on the source of energy used—a factor pretty much up to utilities and out of owner control.

The City’s plan to “preserve affordability” at the Linden Plaza Mitchell-Lama complex is too expensive, according to a lawsuit brought by the tenants council. They say the improvements and rent increases provided by the plan are more costly than if the buildings had simply exited Mitchell-Lama and were just subject to rent stabilization.

The City Department of Environmental Protection has announced grants up to $250,000 and 25% rate reductions for projects that allow buildings to re-use water.

Two pyrrhic court victories for owners were reported in nuisance eviction this week. The court in Westchester Plaza Holdings v. Furlow agreed that a tenant who had to be brought to court for non-payment eight times in 30 months should be evicted, then stayed its own order to see if the tenant could manage to pay on time for the next six months. In 529 W. 29th St., v. Reyes (subscription required), the Court acknowledged that a tenant with mental problems had caused two fires, but ruled he should be allowed to remain in occupancy to see if new medications helped.

Just 140 apartments in several projects either built or proposed prompted the Village of Mamaroneck in Westchester County to declare a six-month moratorium on multifamily housing, in the latest kneejerk reaction of Not In My Backyard.

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