Thursday, May 3, 2018

Cynthia Nixon Announces “Rent Justice for All” Platform in the Bronx

Democratic Candidate for Governor unveils most progressive and expansive tenant protection program in the country, protecting over nine million New Yorkers from skyrocketing rents and eviction

  Standing in front of an apartment building in the Bronx where the landlord is trying to displace rent-stabilized tenants, Democratic candidate for governor Cynthia Nixon announced the most ambitious tenant protection agenda in the country. Cynthia’s plan will provide over three million households and nine million New Yorkers safe and affordable housing across the state.
“Half of our state residents are renters, and under Governor Cuomo, New York’s renters have been left behind. Across the state, low and moderate income tenants are paying more than 50 percent of their income on rent,” said Cynthia. “Every single New Yorker deserves a safe and stable place to live. I will make protecting tenants -- and not corporate landlords -- my priority.”

As governor, Cynthia will strengthen New York’s failing rent laws and rid them of the loopholes that landlords and real estate developers use to take homes out of rent stabilization.  She will work with state lawmakers to create and pass legislation to re-regulate all of the apartments that are still rentals and were lost as a result of vacancy decontrol under Andrew Cuomo, the loophole that incentivizes landlords to raise rents and push out rent-stabilized tenants after reaching a $2,733 rent threshold.  And after years of rent stabilization only applying to a portion of the state’s tenants, she will expand protections beyond New York City, Nassau, Westchester and Rockland counties to all parts of the New York State, and also offer eviction protection statewide for tenants in smaller building that are currently have no rent protections whatsoever.

“Cynthia Nixon’s rent platform is the strongest tenant protection program in the country. It will provide more than three million New Yorkers living on the brink of eviction stability and security in their homes,” said Jonathan Westin, executive director of New York Communities for Change. “Tenants across the country are rising up for rent control, and under Governor Andrew Cuomo — in the pocket of his real estate donors — New York is being left behind. Cynthia Nixon is prepared to stand with tenants and make sure that every New Yorker has an affordable place to live.”

Cynthia will also work with the legislature to:

  • Eliminate the vacancy bonus, which automatically awards landlords a 20% increase in rent each time an apartment is vacated.
  • Eliminate the preferential rent loophole, a trick that allows landlords to lure tenants into leases at one price, which is supposedly lower than the stabilized rent, and then dramatically increase the rent overnight.
  • Eliminate the four year limitation on a tenant’s ability to challenge a rent overcharge.
  • Revise how the cost of major capital improvements is passed on to tenants.
  • Protect tenants living in homes that might be smaller than six units but are owned by corporate landlords who own a large number of properties.
  • Protect tenants from eviction, regardless of where they live or what kind of housing they live in, through Just Cause legislation which would cover tenants in small buildings across all of New York State that are not owner occupied, including lot rents in manufactured home communities that are increasingly vulnerable to speculation.
  • Significantly increase funding for HCR in order to strengthen enforcement, protect tenants’ rights and empower localities to ensure homes in New York are safe and stable.
  • Expand rent stabilization statewide to housing with six units or more.
“Dramatic rent increases threaten too many families like mine causing rampant displacement and increasing homelessness across the state,” says Lolita Molina, Make the Road Action member and a tenant who lives in a rent-regulated apartment. “Cynthia Nixon’s commitment to fight to strengthen the rent laws and expand tenant protections to bring more units across the state into regulation is the kind of bold progressive leadership that we need. Every New Yorker should have a safe, decent home and be free from harassment and intimidation. Working together with Cynthia, we will give over three million households across the state the right to stay in their homes.”

As homelessness declines across the country, in New York it is on the rise. In the last eight years, homelessness has surged by 36 percent to over 89,000 people.  If nothing changes, it will reach over 100,000 people by 2020. Under Cuomo, landlords are rewarded with large rent increases in exchange for evicting people from their homes.  The system invites Wall Street speculation and drives up housing costs. Millions have no protection at all from unfair rent increases or sudden evictions.

“In the last eight years, Governor Cuomo’s real estate donors have dictated housing policy in our state -- and the results have been disastrous. It’s hard to do right when you’re getting millions of dollars to do wrong,” said Cynthia.

Full copy of Cynthia’s “Rent Justice for All” platform can be found HERE.

Voices from the event:

"Since our landlord bought our building, he has harassed, intimidated, and harmed our health. Because of his dangerous and illegal renovations, children were poisoned with lead and elderly tenants were left with no bathrooms and having to use a bucket to go to the bathroom for months. He wants to use state MCI laws to raise rent as much as $300 a month. Simply for making our homes safe to live in. Enough is enough. We need changes in Albany and I stand with Cynthia Nixon to make sure the changes get made." - Francisca Lopez, Tenant Association Member, 919 Prospect Ave, Bronx.

"These loopholes and weak rent laws can be fixed. Governor Andrew Cuomo had 8 years to fix these laws and he decided to do nothing. We have been fighting in my building for almost a year and live in fear for our safety, not just with the horrible conditions, but because of overcharges and preferential rents that could result in us being evicted. I stand with Cynthia Nixon and her campaign in saying that there is a way to fix these problems and we need a leader willing to stand with us in fighting for stronger rent laws that protect me, my family, my neighbors, and my fellow New Yorkers"- Natasha Tosca, Tenant Association President 851 E 163rd St, Bronx.

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