Landlord Housing Reforms Set to be Passed by Council

Council Member Levine also calls on the State Legislature to increase transparency as part of Rent Reform package

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 8, 2019
CONTACT: Win Roosevelt // wroosevelt@council.nyc.gov

City Hall, New York -- Two bills introduced by Council Member Mark Levine to strengthen protections for renters are set to be passed by the City Council tomorrow, May 8th.

Introduction 1274 will require landlords of rent stabilized units to provide individuals with active tenancies four years of rental history. Armed with rent history, tenants are able to see if they are overcharged for their homes. It will also help prevent landlords from illegally removing units from stabilization while making it easier for the City to enforce existing laws that protect and preserve stabilized units.

"For too long, residents have been unaware of their legal rent as prescribed by the state, overpaying landlords hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a year.” said Council Member Levine. “Requiring landlords to disclose a unit’s rent history would break down a significant barrier, making it easier to hold unscrupulous landlords accountable if a tenant’s rent goes up dramatically overnight.”

Current New York State law prevents tenants from requesting their unit’s rental history past a four year window, limiting the scope of protection granted to renters in the new law.

Said Council Member Levine, “As the State Legislature debates an omnibus housing bill in Albany, I strongly urge them to consider including legislation that would increase the rental history disclosure requirement from four to ten years. I would immediately introduce a companion bill in the City Council to support such action.”

Additionally, Introduction 551 will mandate landlords to electronically submit information on buyout agreements they enter into with their tenants to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). Opening up these agreements to greater oversight will protect renters from predatory arrangements and allow city officials to make sure “buyouts” are in the best interest of both parties. It will also create a database to help tenants and policy makers understand the prevalence of the practice.

Said Council Member Levine, “The practice of allowing landlords to make buyout agreements behind closed doors was a regulatory blind-spot that lent itself to abuse. We can now ensure that tenants will not be taken advantage of through these deals while protecting affordable homes from being deregulated through unfair practices.”

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