In the world of tenant activists, 2009 was a year of tremendous optimism. And then it wasn’t.
Democratic control of the State Senate failed to provide any of the radical changes to rent laws that activists had long fought for—and that were expected once Republicans were booted from the majority. Deadlock dominated; the housing committee chair led a short-lived coup; then status quo regained power, allowing the real estate industry to exhale.
September 19, 2010"Governor Paterson's veto of the HIV/AIDS Services Administration (HASA) 30% rent cap bill is an incredible tragedy. Thousands of New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS who receive housing assistance from HASA will continue to be forced to live on $11 and change a day because all the rest of their monthly income – in some cases upwards of 70% – must go towards paying rent.
On September 23, I along with other elected officials and tenants advocacy organizations co-sponsored the Shalom Tenants Alliance’s (STA) City-wide tenant organizing meeting for tenants of buildings owned and managed by the notorious Shalom family, as well as for tenants of other landlords known for buying rent-regulated buildings, systematically dismantling required building services, and forcing out legal residents through harassment, intimidation, negligence, and deception.
On October 29, U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler and I sponsored an informational meeting on rent regulation facilitated by the New York State Tenants & Neighbors Coalition. Rent regulation benefits all New Yorkers, whether or not they live in a rent-regulated apartment, and is one of the main reasons that New York is such a racially and economically diverse, dynamic, vibrant and exciting place. At the meeting, Mary Tek of Tenants & Neighbors discussed with an enthusiastic group of tenants recent housing bills passed by the New York State Legislature and New York City Council, the campaign for rent regulation reform and pending legislation, and how to become involved in the fight to strengthen and preserve affordable housing.
In March 2011, Senator Cathy Young, an upstate Republican Senator from Jamestown and Chair of the Senate Committee on Housing and Community Development, introduced a harmful and dangerous piece of legislation, S.4117-A , that would completely gut the landmark pro-tenant decisions in Roberts v. Tishman Speyer Properties, L.P. and Independence Plaza North Tenants' Assn. v. Independence Plaza Assocs. L.P.