STRONGER RENT LAWS
Rent regulation is the biggest source of affordable housing in NYC, with more than 1 million families living in rent stabilized apartments. This stock of affordable housing is being decimated at an alarming pace as landlords take advantage of weak rent laws they helped to create. The pressure to deregulate apartments has led to the de-stabilization of diverse neighborhoods and a housing crisis for working class families of color, immigrants, and seniors. We must strengthen the rent regulation system legislatively to maintain diverse and livable communities. We must do it NOW before it is too late.
Our legislative priorities for strengthening the rent laws:
- Eliminate the “eviction” bonus – when a landlord pushes a tenant out of a rent regulated apartment, they are rewarded with a 20% rent increase. This “eviction” bonus is responsible for 27% of the total rent increases in NYC, second only after RGB rent increases (responsible for 57% of all rent increases.) Eliminating the “eviction” bonus eliminates one of the main sources of escalating rents, as well as one of the main incentives for landlords to displace tenants.
- Reform preferential rents so they are for the life of a tenancy, instead of just the life of the lease. Almost 240,000 NYC families live in rent regulated apartments with preferential rents. Because of the weak preferential rent laws, these families and seniors experience huge rent increases, most often set by multi-national predatory equity corporations who aim to displace them, create turnover, and ultimately deregulate apartments.
- Make MCIs temporary so that an increase ends when the cost of the work has been recouped. Right now, the increase becomes part of the base rent and tenants pay it forever.
REFORMING BROOKLYN HOUSING COURT
As part of Brooklyn Tenants United, Flatbush Tenant Coalition fights to make the Kings County Housing Court a just, decent, and accessible place for tenants. Our priorities this year are:
- Create a taskforce with representation from NYC & NYS agencies, elected officials, and BTU members to oversee the move to 210 Joralemon St. to ensure a reasonable time-line, that the existing and new court spaces meet the needs of all their users, and that all voices are heard during every phase of this project
- Enforcement of repairs : although housing court was created so that tenants could enforce NYC’s housing code, the court now routinely ignores repair needs and instead functions as a collection agency & eviction mill. Since withholding repairs is one of the main tactics used by landlords to displace tenants, enforcing repairs in housing court will allow families to stay in their homes and help NYC fight the homelessness crisis.
.A STRONG & AFFORDABLE FLATBUSH & EAST FLATBUSH: SAFE
Flatbush and East Flatbush are two of the last neighborhoods in Brooklyn with a significant stock of remaining affordable rent-regulated housing. If we don’t act now, these neighborhoods will be lost to the growing wave of harassment and displacement targeted at long-term residents who are primarily West-Indian immigrants and other people of color. If left unchecked, these tactics will have a devastating effect on low-income families and immigrant communities of color who have been the backbone of our neighborhoods for decades.
SAFE is our broad-based, neighborhood campaign to empower the community through a unique partnership between the Flatbush Tenant Coalition and South Brooklyn Legal Services. We combine building-by-building tenant organizing with legal services to stop wide-scale discrimination and harassment, and connect the Coalition’s more than 17,000 rent-stabilized members to holistic housing, immigration, debt, and income support legal services.
STOPPING PREDATORY EQUITY: StabilizingNYC
Predatory equity corporations are decimating the affordable rent-regulated housing stock in NYC. In Flatbush, just four of these corporations own more than 200 large, multi-family residential buildings, home to over 5,000 families. These corporations are waging an intensive campaign to displace tenants using lack of repairs, frivolous housing court cases, & repeated rent increases.
The Flatbush Tenant Coalition is a key member of StabilizingNYC, a coalition comprised of a legal service provider, a housing advocacy organization, and fourteen grassroots organizations from across NYC who have come together to combat tenant harassment and preserve affordable housing for the New Yorkers who need it most. Our work combines legal, advocacy and organizing resources into a citywide network to help tenants take their predatory equity landlords to task for patchwork repairs, bogus eviction cases, and affirmative harassment. We also work closely with CAPE, the city council-led Coalition Against Predatory Equity, to develop legislative solutions to the problems posed by the predatory equity model.