New York -- The New York State Court of Appeals today issued a unanimous decision holding that rent-stabilized landlords are required to continue accepting federal "Section 8" rent subsidies with respect to rent-stabilized tenants and are not permitted to opt out of this federal subsidy program, affirming a September 2006 decision of the Appellate Division First Department.
The decision in the case of Rosario v. Diagonal Realty LLC upholds Local Law 44 of 1993, introduced by then-City Councilmember Tom Duane, which provides that a landlord who receives tax benefits under the New York City J-51 tax abatement program may not discriminate against tenants or potential tenants on the basis of such tenant's use of or participation in government-funded housing assistance programs including Section 8.
"This is a major victory for affordable housing in New York City," said Judith Goldiner, the Legal Aid Society attorney handling this case. "This means that 60,000 households who would otherwise have lost their apartments and might become homeless would remain in affordable housing."
Duane, now a New York State Senator (D, WFP-Manhattan), praised Goldiner, the Legal Aid Society and the many entities that filed supporting amicus briefs, including the New York City Council. "When I authored Local Law 44, my intention was to provide protection for some of New York's most vulnerable residents. I believe it is only fair that landlords who get tax incentives from the City also give something back to the City by helping to house those most at risk of homelessness. I am grateful to Judith Goldiner, who so ably argued this case, and am thrilled that the Court of Appeals agreed that owners of rent stabilized apartments who have accepted the Section 8 vouchers and the accompanying tax benefits may not refuse them when a lease expires."