Governor Kathy Hochul today signed a legislative package that will promote housing affordability and accessibility, protect tenants and preserve our housing stock — underscoring the administration's commitment to combating the rising cost of housing in New York State and across the nation.
"We are in the midst of a housing crisis that has been decades in the making, but now, we have the tools to end it," Governor Hochul said. "From expanding eligibility for affordability programs like SCRIE and DRIE to increasing rental subsidies, we are working hard to ensure every New Yorker has a safe, stable, and affordable place to call home."
Legislation (S.6903/A.7986) and (S.9471/A.10508) amend the real property tax law to authorize tax abatements for certain properties in a city with a population of one million or more containing dwelling units in which the head of household has a signed agreement with the landlord to limit increases in maximum rent for the lifetime of the tenancy to an amount established by the rent guidelines board and expand eligibility for SCRIE and DRIE to tenants of former Mitchell-Lama buildings whose landlords have entered into voluntary agreements to base future rent increases on affordability provisions deemed sufficient by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development.
State Senator Brian Kavanagh said, "SCRIE, DRIE, SCHE, and DHE are core elements of our efforts to ensure that lower-income New Yorkers are protected from being displaced from their homes and from paying housing costs that make it difficult for them to afford other necessities. I am proud that we are expanding these programs to cover eligible residents of Battery Park City and former Mitchell-Lama buildings like Independence Plaza North. This legislation will also extend Battery Park City's master ground lease by at least 50 years, which will help assure all BPC residents of the long-term stability of this thriving community. I am also pleased that we are now able to increase rental assistance payments to some of our providers of affordable housing throughout New York, helping to maintain this housing without diminishing affordability. I thank my colleagues in the Assembly for sponsoring and passing these bills, everyone who joined us in advocating for them -- especially John Scott and his neighbors at IPN, the Battery Park City community, and Manhattan Community Board 1 -- and of course Governor Kathy Hochul for signing these important bills into law. We have a lot more to do, but step by step, we are working to ensure that every New Yorker has stable access to high-quality affordable housing."
Assemblymember Deborah Glick said, "All New Yorkers deserve stable and affordable housing, yet far too many of our senior and disabled neighbors are unsure if they will be able to afford to stay in their homes. The SCRIE and DRIE programs are designed to assist those in need, but they must be expanded to address the growing need as rents escalate. Maintaining stable communities is vital for our vibrant neighborhoods. By expanding eligibility criteria for SCIRE and DRIE, these two laws will help many of our neighbors on fixed incomes who otherwise qualify and live in former Mitchell-Lama buildings to stay in their homes and keep our communities together. I thank Governor Hochul, Senator Kavanagh, and the Adams administration for working together to insulate older and disabled New Yorkers from insurmountable rent increases."
Legislation (S.9032B/A.10414A) expands eligibility for SCRIE, DRIE, SCHE, and DHE for low-income senior and disabled tenants and homeowners of properties located in Battery Park City and directs the Battery Park City Authority to extend its master lease until at least June 18, 2119.
Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou said, "Due to the unique authority structure of Battery Park City, residents were excluded from housing stability programs and long-term affordability assistance. This legislation (A.10414/S.9032) will amend our laws to allow residents in Battery Park to qualify for vital benefits that other New Yorkers already have access to including SCRIE, DRIE, the senior citizen homeowners' exemption (SCHE) and the disabled homeowners' exemption (DHE). We must ensure that we promote affordable housing through out our City and help households facing displacement remain in place. Thank you to Governor Hochul for signing this bill into law. As we move forward, we must continue to work to address specific issues in the area, including community representation on the Authority board, and to make neighborhoods across Lower Manhattan more accessible to working people."
Legislation (S.7235/A.8098) enables the full amount of rental subsidies from agencies such as the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development to be collected for rent regulated units even if the subsidies exceed the rents that are otherwise permitted under rent regulation. This measure will assist in preserving an important affordable housing stock. Collecting subsidy above the regulated rent would not affect the amount a tenant has to pay out of pocket, and the rent would return to what the tenant was paying under rent regulation if the subsidy ceases.
Assemblymember Steven Cymbrowitz said, "Current law limits the full potential of certain rental assistance programs to use rent-stabilized units in affordable housing projects. Unfortunately, this seriously hinders efforts to use rental assistance to protect tenants, to create safe and decent affordable housing, and to ensure that buildings have the cash flow needed to operate. This bill will address the need to maximize the benefits of rental assistance while the subsidies are available, without diminishing the long-term affordability of the housing under rent stabilization."
Legislation (A.3241/S.6721) allows court-appointed receivers to collect rents to address hazardous conditions at mismanaged properties outside of New York City and several downstate counties (where an analogous procedure already exists). Far too often, tenants voice complaints about the living conditions in their rental units or buildings and are given no remedy or response from their landlord. This legislation will be crucial to preventing tenants from being evicted or having their lives disrupted by appointing a receiver who has full legal authority to address nuisance and unsafe conditions when landlords will not. It also is fair to landlords by letting them demonstrate that there is no need for a receiver or that they will make the necessary repairs themselves.
State Senator Sean Ryan said, "While most landlords across our state work diligently to maintain their properties, there are still many others who put off necessary repairs to save a buck - often to the detriment of their tenants' health and wellbeing. Everyone deserves safe living conditions, and this law will bring a successful program that protects renters in New York City to the rest of the state. I am grateful to Governor Hochul and my colleagues in the Legislature for recognizing the need for urgent action on this issue."
Assemblymember John T. McDonald III said, "Thank you to Governor Kathy Hochul for signing my bill into law that will expand the applicability of the receivership law statewide. The law will empower our local governments to initiate receivership proceedings to address blight, protect tenants, and put properties in the hands of responsible owners. Far too often tenants are in a position where they voice complaints about the condition of their rental to their landlord with no remedy or response. This bill aims to be another tool in the toolbox for municipalities and tenants to ensure a safe and well-maintained living environment. By providing this process as an option we seek to prevent tenants from being evicted, having their lives disrupted, and help to prevent or address blight in the community while potentially preventing future demolitions. Thank you to Senator Sean Ryan for partnering with me on this effort and to the New York State Conference of Mayors for their leadership in moving this bill forward."