Rallying Up the Council!

Reynoso & Levin Press for Tenants Rights Legislation

STS Rally 0217
On the steps of City Hall during a rally held on February 23, 2017: “The people united will never be defeated” Stand for Tenant Safety advocates chant (far left) Rolando Guzman, St. Nicks Alliance’s Dep. Dir. Community Preservation,  (center)Luz Rosero, President of United Neighbors Organization, (at the podium) Council Member Margaret Chin

Over the past 18 months, hundreds of tenants and dozens of community organizations joined with legal advocates and elected officials in a series of rallies to urge the City Council to vote and pass a dozen bills that protect tenants from predatory landlords. Twelve bills in the “Legislative Platform to Reform DOB” address an improvement of protocols to the Department of Buildings (DOB). These would offer better protections against landlords who would use construction and other illegal practices to intimidate their rent regulated tenants to move out, thereby leaving a vacant apartment with market rate potential.

 

When landlords successfully evict or displace rent stabilized tenants, their apartments can be leased at a much higher rent to the next tenant. This adds to the loss of affordable housing in New York City. The purpose of the rallies has been to call attention to the dire necessity for tenants to be protected from landlords acting under the influence of greed.

 

“Since I’ve taken office, landlords using construction as a means to displace tenants has become an increasingly pervasive problem in my district. We need a reformed DOB that is accountable to tenants and responsive when landlords purposefully create unlivable situations. We also need fines for violations issued for this behavior to be more than just the cost of doing business, and for contractors to face consequences for breaking the law. I thank the members of the STS Coalition for their hard work and support, and look forward to passing this package of bills quickly after the April hearing,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso.

 

Council Member Stephen Levin said, ““We need to stop bad landlords that will stop at nothing to pad their profits. All too often, landlords willfully neglect necessary repairs or subject tenants to constant construction in the hopes of forcing them out. We need DOB to be extremely responsive when our community is forced into unsafe and untenable conditions. Our package of bills would address the problem from a number of different angles, and when implemented it will put bad landlords on notice. I’m proud of our coalition’s commitment to stand in support of tenants everywhere and I know we’ll keep fighting for this until it becomes a reality.”

 

Stand for Tenant Safety Coalition: a grassroots coalition that includes tenants, community organizations, and legal advocates is the spearheading force behind the series of rallies and other measures that urge passage of these twelve bills without delay. As of mid-January, seven of the measures received hearings before the Council’s Housing Committee. On March 22nd, Council Member Reynoso’s office revealed a hearing on this legislation has been scheduled for April 19th.

Rolando Guzman, St. Nicks Alliance’s Dep. Dir of Community Preservation and member of STS Coalition, stated, “We thank the leadership of Council Members Antonio Reynoso and Stephen Levin for expediting the scheduling of this hearing for the last five bills. We hope this legislation becomes law in the near future.”

For more information on the 12 bills go to: http://www.standfortenantsafety.com/sts-dob-platform

Author: Lori Ann Doyon

Managing editor, head writer, and lead photographer of Greenline | North Brooklyn News since October 2014. Resident of Williamsburg, Brooklyn since 1990.

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