“THE RENT IS (STILL) TOO DAMN HIGH!”
CASTELLI VOTES ‘UP’ ON RENT REGULATION PACKAGE
Assemblyman Robert J. Castelli (R, C – Goldens Bridge) today voted to pass a comprehensive package of legislation to strengthen rent regulation laws and protect working families from being priced out of their homes and communities.
Last year, Castelli voted for the Assembly’s one house rent-control package, which included many of the initiatives passed today, as well the historic rent-control bill included in the tax cap deal. “After doing our part last year to help pass the first major rent cap measure since the mid-1990s, the Assembly is continuing to work to protect tenants, working families and seniors in White Plains with this year’s passage of these important rent-stabilization bills,” he said.
As a means to preserve thousands of affordable housing units, the Assembly housing package included a bill (A.2593-A/Lopez) to limit the amount a landlord could increase rent on a vacated apartment from 20 percent to 10 percent.
A bill (A.2459-A/O’Donnell) included in the legislative package would preserve incentives for landlords to make improvements on their properties but ensure that rents are not raised disproportionately. The measure would require rent surcharges authorized for major capital improvements to cease when the cost of the improvement has been recovered.
In order to restore much-needed affordable housing units and make it possible for middle class families to remain in their neighborhoods, a bill (A.2430-A/Rosenthal) also included in the housing package would repeal vacancy decontrol laws that permit landlords to remove apartments from regulation by charging rent at or above $2,000 per month.
Other measures that would protect tenants from exorbitant rent increases would:
prevent a Rent Guidelines Board from adjusting rent in the absence of legislative authorization (A7234-A/Rosenthal);
require the Division of Housing and Community Renewal to use the same formula in determining rent increases for rent-controlled apartments that the Rent Guidelines Board uses to determine rent increases for rent-stabilized apartments (A.1892-B/Rosenthal); and
extend the length of time a landlord must own the rental property before being eligible for a hardship rent adjustment from three years to six years (A.2881/Kavanagh).
require buildings that are removed by their landlords from the Mitchell-Lama program to become rent-stabilized, even if constructed after 1974 (A.2750-A/Pretlow);
extend eviction and rent protection to those tenants living in former federal project-based section 8 buildings, even if the building had been constructed after 1974 (A.2994/Lopez);
require an owner of a rent regulated unit to comply with an order issued more than four years prior to an overcharge complaint if the order has not been revoked and also require a complaint of fraud be reviewed by the Division of Housing and Community Renewal regardless of whether such fraud allegedly occurred prior to the four years preceding the filing of a complaint (A.4900/Rosenthal).
“The rent is too damn high, a phrase coined by a fellow Vietnam Veteran Jimmy McMillian, continue to ring true for many tenants in White Plains.” Castelli said. “Allowing White Plains to strengthen its rent-stabilization laws, while adjusting income thresholds to more accurately reflect current wages and the rate of inflation, will make renting an apartment more affordable for young professionals, families and seniors during these difficult economic times.”