Bklyn Pols In United Front To Change Rent Laws

round table

A roundtable discussion among Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Central Brooklyn elected officials and tenant advocates this week yielded a work-in-progress plan to push for changes to the recently approved rent laws negotiated by Governor Andrew Cuomo and State Senate Republicans.

Under the current deal, it has been estimated that the city could lose almost 90,000 rent-regulated apartments. The roundtable focused on the possibility of halting the vacancy bonus, or rent increases that landlords are entitled to once rent-regulated apartments become vacant. Brooklyn elected officials also discussed developing a “Tenant Roadmap” that would seek to protect tenants in the upcoming year, including coordinated actions to combat tenant harassment.

Borough President Eric Adams
Borough President Eric Adams

“The number one issue for Brooklynites is affordable housing, and every elected official must be judged on their commitment to its preservation and expansion,” said Borough Adams. “Brooklyn is ground zero for the displacement and harassment of tenants which is contributing extensively to our critical losses of affordable housing in the borough. I am pleased that there is a core group of local leaders that are uniting to strategize and coordinate best practices that will lead to legislating, litigating, and organizing success.”

Joining Adams at the roundtable by State Senator Jesse Hamilton, Assembly Members Maritza Davila, Walter Mosley, Diana Richardson, Annette Robinson, and Latrice Walker, as well as Council Members Robert Cornegy, Jr., Antonio Reynoso, and Jumaane D. Williams.

Advocates in attendance included representatives from Alliance for Tenant Power, Community Service Society, Legal Aid Society, Make the Road New York, New York Communities for Change, Tenants and Neighbors, and Working Families Party.

“This roundtable serves as part of an effort to respond to that crisis. By helping connect city and state legislators with tenant advocates, we gained an opportunity to learn from one another’s experience, share best practices, and forge new partnerships,” said Hamilton.

“It is imperative that we continue our vigilance of the housing injustice that is transpiring in my district and throughout Brooklyn,” said Davila. “In my district, Council Member Reynoso, other electeds, and I have initiated a pilot program that has successfully saved many affordable units. However, we still have a lot of work to do to unite New York City’s elected officials so that we can fight even harder in Albany for affordable housing.”

Bed-Stuy Assembly Member Annette Robinson
Bed-Stuy Assembly Member Annette Robinson

“Stabilized housing, rent regulations and the building of affordable housing provide families with shelter and security,” said Robinson. “The de-stabilization of housing by greedy landlords and the harassment of tenants and illegal evictions will not be tolerated and must come to an end.  This must be a City for ALL people not just the rich and famous.”

“Evictions, sky-rocketing rent, buy-out pressure, rejection of housing vouchers, lack of maintenance – these issues dominate constituents’ pleas to my office,” said Cornegy. “Brooklyn’s tenants are under pressure from every side, so elected officials and advocates must be united in their defense. I commend Borough President Adams for convening the roundtable, and look forward to participating vigorously as this movement grows in number and effectiveness.”