COUNCIL PASSES BILL SPONSORED BY KOPPELL EXTENDING RENT STABILIZATION
At its Stated Meeting on March 14, 2012, the Council passed a bill, co-sponsored by Council Member Oliver Koppell, that extends the rent stabilization laws from April 1, 2012 to April 1, 2015. The rent stabilization laws regulate multiple dwellings containing six or more units built after February 1, 1947.
The law was originally enacted in 1969 and set to expire in April 1, 1974. However, the Council has extended it for three year periods from 1979 to 2009 on the basis that a “housing emergency continues to exist in New York City.” A housing emergency is determined on the basis of the supply of housing accommodations, the condition of such accommodations and the need for continued regulation and control of residential rents. A declaration of emergency may be made if the vacancy rate for all housing accommodations is not in excess of five percent.
According to a survey conducted by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) for the period between February and May of 2011, the citywide rental vacancy rate is 3.12% This finding made it possible for the Council to declare that a “serious public emergency continues to exist in the housing of a considerable number of persons within the City of New York and will continue to exist on and after April 1, 2012,” thereby providing legal justification for the extension of the rent stabilization Laws.“Without rent regulation, many New Yorkers would be priced out of their apartments, leading to a crisis in homelessness and a large exodus from the city. By enabling these individuals to remain in their homes, rent stabilization prevents this kind of mass dislocation,” Koppell said.
KOPPELL NAMED LEGISLATOR OF THE YEAR BY MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS SOCIETY
Council Member Oliver Koppell was named “Legislator of the Year” by the Multiple Sclerosis Society New York City-Southern New York Chapter at its annual meeting on March 14, 2012, which took place during National MS Awareness Week, March 10th-18th.
The New York City-Southern New York Chapter serves the 10,000 people living with MS in the five boroughs, Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Orange and Sullivan Counties.
The Annual Meeting provides an opportunity for the New York City-Southern New York Chapter to recognize supporters and volunteers for their outstanding achievements. Koppell, who is Chair of the Committee on Mental Health, Mental Retardation, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Disability Services, was honored for his advocacy on behalf of the disabled community and, most particularly, for his steadfast efforts, including the introduction of legislation, requiring that all future New York City yellow cabs be wheelchair accessible.“I am gratified to receive this honor, Koppell said, and pleased that my efforts, as well as those of the disability community, has played a part in the inclusion of wheelchair accessibility in the new state taxi legislation