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.
In the former case, the New York State Court of Appeals determined that Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village's landlord had illegally deregulated thousands of apartments even though it was receiving generous tax benefits through the New York City J-51 tax abatement program. This was a crucial decision for tenants and prevented the elimination of much-needed affordable housing stock.
If S.4117-A were to become law, property owners that received J-51 tax benefits would be given the option to repay the City the amount received plus 9% and waive the receipt of further tax benefits in exchange for being exempted from re-regulation of housing units that have been deregulated. This would completely undermine the Roberts and Independence Plaza decisions and essentially reward owners for the improper deregulation of units.
On June 22, 2011, I spoke against this bill on the Senate floor. Please see the video of my remarks above.