November 18, 2014 by westsideneighborhoodalliance
“Tenant advocates suffered a setback when Republicans won outright control of the state Senate in this month’s elections,” Chris Bragg reported in Crain’s on Nov. 18. “But as rent laws near their June 2015 expiration date, the advocates still claim to be better positioned than in 2011, when the laws were last due to expire and Republicans likewise ruled the upper chamber.”
With Bill de Blasio in the mayor’s office, tenants will hopefully have a more powerful ally in fighting for affordable housing than they did in 2011.
Another glimmer of hope, Bragg wrote, is that the Assembly Housing Committee is now chaired by Manhattan’s Keith Wright. Prior chairman Vito Lopez, who resigned from the Assembly in 2013, had a “frosty” relationship with tenants advocates.
Tenant groups are already gearing up for an important showdown in Albany when the rent laws expire in 2015.
Bragg reported that the Alliance for Tenant Power (which consists of New York Communities for Change, Make the Road New York and other tenant allies) is planning to hold a large rally Tuesday morning at City Hall to kick off a large-scale campaign calling for stronger rent laws.
“There’s a real sense of urgency among advocates and tenants,” said Delsenia Glover, campaign manager of Alliance for Tenant Power and a speaker at the West Side Neighborhood Alliance’s 9th annual West Side Tenants’ Conference, which took place on Nov. 1.
Importantly, the 421-a property-tax exemption which, as Bragg wrote, is “beloved by developers” also expires in June. “The real estate industry engaged in heavy outside spending to help Republicans in this year’s elections, and Republicans will likely be sensitive to its concerns,” he wrote.