Assemblywoman Diana Richardson (D-Crown Heights, Flatbush, Lefferts Gardens, Wingate) is going to make sure that the State Senate and Assembly keeps true to its word now that both houses are majority Democratic.
In a rally today in support of passing various sweeping housing reforms, Richardson alongside dozens of elected officials promised that the upcoming year in the state legislature would be a new day for progressive policies, including making tenant protections a top priority.
“This year is our year! I want to put this directly on the record. If you are a legislator in the state of New York and you do no stand with us on this issue. Then we will consider you to be against us. And if you are against us, we will be coming for your seat in Albany!” exclaimed Richardson.
Key renting loopholes the state lawmakers vowed to close include preferential rent and major capital improvements, which saddle tenants with sudden and permanent rent increases; individual apartment increases and the vacancy bonus, which encourages tenant harassment; and vacancy decontrol, which has led to the loss of over a hundred thousand rent regulated apartments in the last 10 years.
The veiled promise, was the climax of a rally that echoed Democratic Party unity, especially by the incoming freshman class of state legislators including Senators-elect Zellnor Myrie (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Gowanus, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, South Slope, Sunset Park), Jessica Ramos (D-Queens) and Julia Salazar (D-Williamsburg, Bushwick, East New York, Bedford-Stuyvesant).
“You can not address an emergency with half a solution. So guess what, this next legislative session, there ain’t no half stepping. We have been told, that we have to wait, that we have to be incremental in our change. But guess what, there are single mothers in Central Brooklyn, who can barely afford their rent and are on the verge of homelessness. They can not wait. So this next legislative session, we will not wait. We won’t wait. Let’s go get them,” championed Myrie.
“We need to finally repeal and replace the deregulatory rent laws that put tenants throughout New York state at the mercy of predatory developers and abusive landlords. We’ve long seen the harmful impact of the lack of rent regulation in our North Brooklyn neighborhoods, and now we are seeing the negative impact in communities across the state as well. Every tenant in New York must be legally protected from the risk of displacement and homelessness,” said Salazar.
Additionally, legislators are also working to pass good cause eviction, which would protect millions of tenants across the state who currently lack any basic tenant protections and will call for the expansion of the Emergency Tenant Protection Act (ETPA) to cover the entire state.
According to the coalition, the rental housing crisis has spread across the state resulting in 89,000 people being left homeless.
Legislators were also flanked by advocates from the Housing Justice for All campaign, tenants, and other stakeholders in support of reform.
Also at the event were advocates from the Housing Justice for All campaign, who most recently released a comprehensive universal rent control legislative package, they hope to pass before the rent laws expire in June 2019.
The passage of the legislative package is expected to be a litmus test come January as Democrats, who now control all the branches of state government, will be highly watched for unanimous voting numbers.