STAND FOR TENANT SAFETY (STS) PRESS STATEMENT - May 22, 2018
“Behind New York’s Housing Crisis: Weakened Laws and Fragmented Regulation,” Kim Barker’s impressive and comprehensive NY Times article of May 20, 2018, makes the case to New Yorkers about why their city is being taken over by the wealthy and how the city’s most abundant source of affordable homes, over one million rent regulated apartments, are draining out of the system.
Stand for Tenant Safety (STS), a citywide coalition of thirty plus housing advocacy groups, has been on the ground organizing tenants to actively resist the corporate landlords who buy tenanted buildings for quick profits, and then push out regulated tenants through construction-as-harassment - one of the most threatening forms of harassment that tenants might face. It often involves ceiling collapses, the release of toxic lead dust, impaired cooking gas pipes, and more than occasionally, causes buildings to be vacated for months on end.
To protect tenants and to give the Department of Buildings (DoB) more clout, STS worked with members of the City Council’s Progressive Caucus to pass 12 local laws that address many of Ms. Barker’s examples of weakened laws. One new law creates a “Real Time Enforcement Unit,” requiring a DoB inspector to get to the site of a dangerous construction violation within twelve hours. DoB will be hiring 70 additional inspectors to staff this unit. Other laws mandate that occupied buildings under construction must prominently display the Tenants Construction Bill of Rights on every floor, unpaid violations get fines that are collected in a way do sting the bottom line, and to address fragmented regulation, a task force of public agencies and elected officials is mandated to meet quarterly to evaluate current practices and improve information sharing.
STS is thrilled to see the in depth coverage presented in “Behind New York’s Housing Crisis: Weakened Laws and Fragmented Regulation.” Our coalition, tenants, and elected officials are ready to work with DoB to use the new STS laws to vigorously protect New Yorkers.