ASSEMBLY STANDING COMMITTEE ON HOUSING
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING
Affordable housing has been and will continue to remain one of the Assembly's primary concerns. The Assembly has consistently supported many different programs and initiatives designed to provide affordable housing to medium- and low-income households. To counteract extreme housing shortages a series of laws were enacted to regulate the rent on housing units across the state. These provisions help ensure that medium- and low-income individuals will continue to have access to affordable housing in communities throughout the state. In recent years the number of rent regulated housing units has consistently dwindled. In 2008, the Assembly passed a package of bills to protect this housing: A.352 Bing (prohibition of rent increases based on "unique and peculiar circumstances"); A.799 Lopez, V. (limitations on landlord's ability to recover a rent regulated apartment for personal use); A.2894 Lopez, V. (reduction of vacancy rent increases from twenty percent to ten percent); A.4069 Lopez, V. (allowance for New York city to strengthen rent regulation laws through the passage of local laws); A.5677 Lopez, V. (protection under the rent stabilization law for former Section 8 projects); A.6510 O'Donnell (extension of the period over which major capital improvement expenditures may be recovered); A.7416-A Rosenthal (repealer of vacancy decontrol provisions); A.10055-A Jeffries (limitation of the practice of increasing preferential rent upon lease renewal); A.10647 Bing (adjustment of thresholds used for calculating the deregulation of high-income apartments); A.10823 Silver (increase in penalties for tenant harassment). This hearing will explore the challenges rent regulated housing is facing and possible solutions the Legislature can take to ensure the continued availability of affordable housing.
Please see the reverse side for a list of subjects to which witnesses may direct their testimony, and for a description of the bills which will be discussed at the hearing.
Persons wishing to present pertinent testimony to the Committee at the above hearing should complete and return the enclosed reply form as soon as possible. It is important that the reply form be fully completed and returned so that persons may be notified in the event of emergency postponement or cancellation.
Oral testimony will be limited to 10 minutes duration. In preparing the order of witnesses, the Committee will attempt to accommodate individual requests to speak at particular times in view of special circumstances. These requests should be made on the attached reply form or communicated to Committee staff as early as possible.
Ten copies of any prepared testimony should be submitted at the hearing registration desk. The Committee would appreciate advance receipt of prepared statements.
In order to further publicize these hearings, please inform interested parties and organizations of the Committee's interest in hearing testimony from all sources.
In order to meet the needs of those who may have a disability, the Assembly, in accordance with its policy of non-discrimination on the basis of disability, as well as the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has made its facilities and services available to all individuals with disabilities. For individuals with disabilities, accommodations will be provided, upon reasonable request, to afford such individuals access and admission to Assembly facilities and activities.
How effectively would the bills passed last year by the Assembly protect the stock of rent regulated housing?
Is the primary loss of rent regulated housing through vacancy decontrol provisions? The $2,000 threshold that triggers vacancy decontrol has not been adjusted since the provision was initially established. What is the most effective method to reduce the loss of rent regulated units through this provision?
Several incentive programs are currently being used to increase the supply of rent regulated units. Many incentive-based programs, however, tend to be less effective during difficult economic times, such as those we are currently experiencing. How could these programs be modified to be more enticing to landlords? What other types of incentives could be used to encourage the development of rent regulated units?
How would a program designed to re-regulate deregulated units affect the current housing market? What effect would this program have on regulatory agencies?
The majority of rent regulated housing is located in New York City; however a provision of rent regulation laws prohibits the City from passing local laws that would strengthen rent regulation provisions beyond state law. What are the likely implications of allowing New York City to pass more stringent rent regulation laws?
Tenant harassment and exploitation continues to remain an issue. How can the Legislature help protect and inform tenants in rent regulated housing?
Landlords that make capital improvements to a building or unit are allowed to file for permanent increases in rent. In rent regulated housing these increases can cause units to become permanently deregulated and can be a costly burden to tenants. What policy solutions would help encourage landlords to make regular capital improvements and still protect tenants and rent regulated housing?