Will NY state lawmakers side with tenants, or do the bidding of toxic real estate donors?
By Chris Tallent
June 11, 2019
Wealthy real estate interests, including corporate landlords and developers, are spending big to buy New York lawmakers with rent control regulations expiring on June 15. They’re trying to silence the voices of everyday New Yorkers.
That’s why tenants from across the state are rising up in massive #TenantTuesday protests to demand lawmakers side with everyday people, not big money! And Cleanup Carl is standing with tenants to send a message to lawmakers: Side with tenants, not toxic campaign cash!
Cleanup Carl stands with tenants at the May 14 #TenantTuesday rally in Albany
Real estate interests have poured in nearly $60 million to influence state elections in New York over the last decade, and nearly $4 million of that has come from the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY). And new analysis shows they ramp up their spending when rent control regulations are up for review, drowning out small donors. Since January, REBNY’s political action committee has given $15,000 to Governor Cuomo and more than $114,000 to state lawmakers, while landlord lobbyists are practically falling over themselves to influence Senators and Assembly Members.
For too long big landlord interests have called the shots in Albany. They propped up a Republican-controlled State Senate for years that stopped key tenant reforms and resulted in historic levels of homelessness, ridiculously absurd housing prices, and shameless monuments to New York’s billionaire class.
But now, after a ton of organizing (including a Toxic Tour!), there’s an opportunity to pass real progressive pro-tenant reforms. Thousands of tenants from across the state have joined together in massive #TenantTuesday protests with the Housing Justice for All Coalition and dozens of groups from VOCAL-NY, New York Communities for Change, Make the Road NY, DSA, and many more, to make their voices heard. They’re demanding common sense reforms under the banner of Universal Rent Control.
Activists demand Assembly Speaker Heastie stand with tenants, not big real estate money
Universal Rent Control would make New York’s housing laws work for everyday people, not corporate landlords. At stake are 9 bills that all need to pass in order for tenants to truly be protected. Among other provisions, these bills would end vacancy decontrol which effectively allows landlords to harass tenants through improvement construction in order to push out renters and raise rents for new tenants. Other provisions would implement ‘good cause eviction’ that would put a stop to ‘unconscionable’ rent increases, and extend the time for tenants to file overcharge complaints. Moreover, all provisions would extend to the entire state, addressing the housing crisis that has extended well beyond increasingly gentrified neighborhoods in the City.
Housing activists have stormed the Capitol building in Albany more than once to make their voices heard