11 bills Pass City Council to Protect Tenants from Landlord Harassment and Reform the Department of Buildings to Better Enforce Existing Laws
New York, NY – Council Member Ben Kallos Vice Chair of the caucus was the prime sponsor of Int. 930 and 931 which aim to correct the behavior of landlords and building owners that neither fix reoccurring problems on their properties nor pay the fines that go along with those violations, putting tenants in unsafe conditions sometimes for years on end. The Stand For Tenant Safety (STS) legislative package will offer greater protection for tenants, especially in regards to the use of construction as harassment by landlords. STS was pushed by a citywide alliance of grassroots tenant organizations and legal service groups collaborating with the Progressive Caucus.
"Believe it or not, construction being used to harass and push tenants out is a huge problem in New York City. This package of legislation aims to fix the behavior of unscrupulous landlords who cut corners, neglect repairs and take advantage of loopholes to hurt tenants and avoid paying fines. Thank you to the coalition of tenant organizations and legal service groups that worked for two years to get these bills passed, “said Council Member Ben Kallos Vice chair of the Progressive Caucus.
The 11 bills that passed a vote today are:
· Kallos, ECB Liens - Int 0930: This bill expands the Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s Third Party Transfer program, which allows the City to foreclose and sell distressed residential buildings to pre-qualified third parties, to include buildings whose owners have incurred large amounts of unsatisfied building violations.
· Kallos, Building Code Violations - Int 0931: Provides that building code violations adjudicated before Environmental Control Board would constitute tax liens on the property
· Espinal, Vacate Orders - Int 0924: Require DOB to issue orders to correct concurrently with vacate orders.
· Chin, Menchaca, Professional Certification - Int 0918: This bill provides that in multiple dwellings where more than 10% of the dwelling units are occupied, or where the owner has harassed tenants, the DOB must perform full examinations of construction documents and final inspections.
· Garodnik , Construction Taskforce - Int 0926: This bill creates a task force on construction work in occupied multiple dwellings.
· Levine, Tenant Protections - Int 0936: This bill amends information required in tenant protection plans (TPP) and prescribes measures to ensure compliance with the TPP.
· Reynoso, Permit Oversight- Int 0938: This bill requires increased oversight of construction contractors who have engaged in work without a required permit
· Reynoso, Penalties for Work Without Permit-Int 0939: Increase the penalties for work without a permit.
· Reynoso, Stop Work Order - Int 0940: Increases the penalties for a violation of a stop work order.
· Rosenthal, Construction Work Permits - Int 0944: Require construction work permits on DOB’s website to disclose the reported occupancy status of the building and require landlords who have done work without a permit to submit their future construction plans to their borough president, council member, and community board.
· Mendez, Construction Bill of Rights- Int 0960: This bill creates a safe construction bill of rights.
Together these bills give tenants broader protections from dangerous construction going on in their buildings and helps DOB better enforce existing laws. Without these bills, unscrupulous landlords can use loopholes in the city’s enforcement to create hazardous construction conditions to push tenants out of their homes.