Senator John A. DeFrancisco announced today that the New York State Senate has passed his bill (S552) that would authorize public welfare officials to withhold rent from landlords who have not paid their real estate taxes. The bill would give broad discretion to the Department of Social Services.
Under current law, a recipient of public assistance is eligible for housing assistance, and these payments are made directly by the public welfare department to the landlord. Last year, it was reported by The Post-Standard in Syracuse that two landlords had unpaid taxes totaling more than $1 million, yet they were still receiving rent for their tenants who were on public assistance.
“A landlord who fails to pay property taxes should not be allowed to collect rent payments from taxpayer-funded welfare programs,” said Senator DeFrancisco. “Our state cannot afford to allow tax dodgers to get away with this abuse. They need to be held accountable.”
The bill has been referred to the New York State Assembly.