New York's Top Leaders, De Blasio and Jumaane Williams, Hail Rent Bill Boosting Tenants' Rights

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Jumaane Williams. Photo: Twitter
 
New York City's top elected officials including Mayor Bill de Blasio and Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams have hailed the bill that will significantly increase tenants rights. 
 
The new bill which could be voted on as early as Friday includes several protections such as: protection against evictions from apartments so long as a tenant occupies the unit in a preferential unit and blocking landlords from exponentially increasing rents; the so-called vacancy bonus whereby landlords could increase rent by as much as 20% when a unit is vacant has been eliminated; landlords face criminal charges if they evict tenants by force or lock them out; a judge can block an eviction by up to one year; and landlords must notify tenants if rent is slated to increase by 5% or if the lease won't be renewed.
 
The current rent laws expire on June 15.
 
“Tenants have pounded on Albany’s door for decades for the protections they deserve. We’ve stood with them, fought for them tooth-and-nail, and now the wait is finally over," Mayor de Blasio said. "Our State Legislature has answered the call. This is a remarkable achievement that will halt displacement, harassment and unjust evictions, and keep working families in the homes they love. Combined with the City’s rapid pace of building and protecting affordable homes, these reforms mean we can go from just holding the line to actually growing the number of apartments New Yorkers can afford."
 
The mayor added, “It goes without saying: nothing like this would have been possible without the Assembly and the new Democratic majority in the State Senate working together on behalf of the people. Elections matter. For more than two million New Yorkers who depend on our rent laws to protect their homes, and the millions more who will enjoy new protections for the first time, steadfast advocacy and an election has helped keep a roof over their heads.”
 
Williams, the public advocate, said: "In all five boroughs and all sixty-two counties, tenants are struggling. But thanks to the tireless efforts of activists and the willingness of legislators to stand up for tenants, the strongest statewide tenant protections and rent regulations I've seen in my two decades of fighting for the cause- first as a housing organizer then executive director of Tenants & Neighbors - are poised to become law."
 
Williams added, "I want to express my gratitude to everyone who made this progress possible, from the advocates who spent years organizing to the state legislators who helped get it done. I would like to thank Speaker Carl Heastie, and give a special thanks to majority leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins for seizing the opportunity of a newly blue State Senate. We did not get everything, but what has been presented will have profound and tangible impact on the lives of millions of New Yorkers living in rent-regulated housing, and provide that opportunity to more people. I urge both chambers to quickly pass this legislative package and for the governor to keep his word and sign them into law. In this victory, we've also shown our strength- and our path forward. Tenants, united, will never be defeated, and we've shown that. As the Council's former housing and buildings chair, and then during the lieutenant governor's race, I've seen that housing stands as an issue felt all across city and state. By staying united and advancing the upstate-downstate alliance that drove this legislation, we can fight for and achieve Good Cause and other essential measures. We will continue to push for the greatest amount of protection for the greatest number of people possible- and as of today, we're re-defining what's possible."
 
 

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