Kevan Abrahams & Tenant Advocates Released an Analysis Revealing There are Over 23 Thousand Long Island Tenants at Risk of Landlord Harassment and Displacement.
LONG ISLAND, NY — On Monday morning, Minority leaders Kevan Abrahams, Siela Bynoe and Carrie Solages stood with dozens of rent stabilized tenants from Long Island to demand action on rent laws expiring on June 15th.
Thousands of Long Island tenants, from all across Nassau County, are at great risk of rent increases and continued harassment from their landlords unless the state Senate takes action immediately. In two weeks, on June 15, 2016, New York’s rent laws expire. These laws protect about 2.5 million tenants from extreme rent increases and arbitrary evictions. New York’s rent regulation system is the largest source of affordable housing system in the state, and perhaps the largest in the entire country. Elected officials and the media have often portrayed the rent laws as an issue that solely affects New York City residents. And while the majority of rent-regulated buildings are located within the five boroughs, Long Island also has thousands of units of rent-stabilized housing.
Rent laws are often presented as a NYC issue, but a breaking new analysis by New York Communities for Change asserts that there are over 23,000 registered rent-regulated tenants on Long Island:
“We’ve seen our rent regulated apartments go down with the years, they are shrinking and shrinking. We are not focused on protecting the rights of renters,” said Legislator Kevan Abrahams. “We have nine Long Island Senators that need to be proactive and protect the rights of those living in their districts, 23,000 rent-regulated Long Islanders are counting on them.”
“Rent laws are a City issue but they are also a Long Island issue,” said Legislator Carrie Solages. “We care and cost that it cost to live here in Nassau county and we need to make sure we protect their right to stay on Long Island.”
“We have a tremendous amount of people that will be affected if the rent laws are not strengthen,” said Legislator Siela Bynoe. “It would be a crime not to push forward the legislation presented by the Assembly. That legislation not only continues the provisions of rent regulation, but also strengthens the current bill by providing more protections for tenants.”
All of Long Island’s rent-stabilized housing stock is in Nassau County – spread out among 15 different communities. Floral Park, Great Neck, Mineola, Cedarhurst, Freeport, Hempstead, Roslyn, Long Beach, Rockville Centre, Port Washington, Glen Cove, Lynbrook, Manhasset, Carle Place and Westbury all have at least one rent-regulated building. These homes make it easier for Long Island working families and seniors to pay rent. But over the last twenty years, we have lost hundreds of thousands of rent-regulated apartments, due to weak rent-laws that make it easier for landlords to evict residents and de-regulate housing.
“I am afraid that if the rent laws are not strengthen, they are going to up my rent. And where I’m I going to go?,” said Diane Goins, a member of New York Communities for Change and a rent stabilized tenant from Nassau County.
“Several Long Island buildings have banded together and formed the Long Island Tenants Union,” said T.J. Shivers VP of the Long Island Tenants Union. “We formed this union because we have landlords taking advantage of the tenants. Weak rent laws create incentives to push us away from our homes. Our State Senators have done nothing, and without their support we could be homeless.”
The Long Island Tenants Union demands the following:
The state Senate should immediately pass the Assembly’s housing bill, A07526, which has the following improvements to the rent laws:
1. Repeals vacancy decontrol, which de-regulates affordable housing units and puts them into the market
2. Greatly reduces the vacancy bonus, which increases rent when tenants move out, incentivizing landlords to harass and push out tenants.
3. Makes rent increases for major capital improvements and individual apartment improvements temporary, so that landlords can retrieve their investment with some interest but not charge tenants for the same improvements in perpetuity.
4. Strengthens protections for tenants with preferential rents, so they are not in constant risk of eviction.
If the five Long Island senators with rent-regulated housing join the 25 Democrats and just two of the Independent Democratic Caucus members, this bill could be passed tomorrow. If it isn’t, there will be 23,000 ignored, at-risk, and increasingly angry tenants on Long Island.
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