Richardson leads fight for historic passing of housing legislation

Brooklyn Sen. Zellnor Myrie (D-20th SD), who led the housing fight in the Senate, and Assemblywoman Diana C. Richardson (D-43rd AD), who led the fight in the Assembly.
Office of Assemblywoman Diana C. Richardson

Brooklyn Assemblywoman, Diana C. Richardson says she hass led the fight for “a monumental legislative package” with the New York State Assembly in addressing housing reform and strengthening tenant protection throughout New York State.

“This long-awaited package encompasses historical affordable housing legislation to combat unfair housing practices for all New Yorkers,” said Richardson, the daughter of St. Martin and Aruban immigrants, who represents the 43rd Assembly District in Brooklyn.

“We are in a state of emergency with our current housing crisis in New York City, where hardworking tenants are living beyond their financial capacity to maintain a roof over their head, due to the lack of affordable housing,” she added. “Central Brooklyn has the second highest rate of evictions throughout the State of New York, and this package will help protect our struggling communities and ensure families are not forced out of their homes.”

Richardson said the New York State Legislature has “fought for years to bring power back into the hands of the people, when it comes to housing.

“The historic measures we passed were made possible due to the ongoing efforts of families, residents, tenant advocacy groups and community leaders, who fought alongside a united Democratic Legislature,” she said. “Our hopes for this housing package to change the lives of everyday New Yorkers will become reality, once the governor signs these reforms into law.”

Richardson said the new legislation makes the rent regulation system permanent, “so they will not sunset at any time in the future without an act of the Legislature to repeal or terminate them.”

The measure also repeals the provisions that allow the removal of units from rent stabilization when the rent crosses a statutory high-rent threshold and the unit becomes vacant or the tenant’s income is $200,000 or higher in the preceding two years.

Richardson said previous provisions led to the deregulation of more than 300,000 units since they were first passed in 1994.

The legislation limits the use of the “owner use” provision to a single unit, requires that the owner or their immediate family use the unit as their primary residence, and protects long-term tenants from eviction under this exception by reducing the current length of tenancy required to be protected from eviction to 15 years.

In addition, Richardson said the legislation limits the temporary non-profit exception to rent stabilization by requiring units to remain rent-stabilized if they are provided to individuals who are or were homeless or are at risk of homelessness.

It also provides individuals permanently or temporarily housed by nonprofits status as tenants while ensuring that units used for these purposes remain rent stabilized.

Additionally, Richardson said the housing legislation, among other things, repeals the “vacancy bonus” provision that allows a property owner to raise rents as much as 20 percent each time a unit becomes vacant; repeals the “longevity bonus” provision that allows rents to be raised by additional amounts based on the duration of the previous tenancy; and prohibits local Rent Guidelines Boards from reinstating vacancy bonus on their own.

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