Tenants v. Tech

Tenants are fighting new technology in Manhattan—where they don’t want to use the Latch phone app for building entry instead of keys (Sharpe v. 517-525 West 45 LLC)—and Brooklyn, where they are challenging a facial recognition access system. Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal has introduced a bill that would require landlords to provide a “traditional” means of entry, and, ironically, HPD is touting facial recognition for affordable housing projects in the Bronx as a “State of the Art” amenity.
National Grid is threatening to reject all new firm gas applications in New York City or on Long Island after May 15th if a new cross harbor pipeline is not approved. The decision echoes Con Edison’s southern Westchester policy and leaves regional developers wondering what to do when government discourages oil and capacity limits gas.
State Supreme Court Judge Robert Kalish this week refused to dismiss a class action overcharge complaint against Bronstein Properties organized by the Housing Rights Initiative. Bronstein had argued that—as another Judge agreed last year—the individual apartment histories and fact patterns were not appropriate for class action. In something of a Catch 22 ruling, Kalish indicated that discovery of more facts would be needed to determine that.
The Suffolk County Water Authority approved a basic 6.6% rate increase effective April 1st, but added an additional 15% penalty for excess consumption based on pipe size “to reduce water consumption.”
New scoping documents issued this week for the proposed Gowanus rezoning anticipate the potential for 8,200 new apartments in the neighborhood.
The Community Service Society this week issued a report claiming that free tenant attorneys had reduced evictions most in targeted zip codes and about 800 overall from 2017 to 2018. They did not mention that the number of one shot deals reported in the Mayors Management Reports increased by about 5,000 in the same period.
A California appellate court ruled this week that a facial challenge to a mobile home rent control ordinance in El Monte could proceed on the question of whether the policy was rational and based on fact.
HUD Secretary Ben Carson charged, Thursday, that Facebook violated the Fair Housing Act with discriminatory advertising practices, just one week after Facebook settled a discrimination suit brought by civil rights groups and changed several of the questioned policies.
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