The shortcomings of rent-stabilization enforcement in New York City are well known, with widespread abuse by landlords making national news in recent months. Now, city lawmakers are moving to address the crisis with a batch of new legislation.
Council member Mark Levine, whose district spans a swath of Upper Manhattan between Washington Heights and the Upper West Side, introduced a bill on Wednesday that would require owners of rent stabilized units to provide four years of rental history to new tenants.
This information would be obtained from New York’s State Department of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR), which registers apartment rents from building owners annually.
Tenants currently have the option to request their rent history from DHCR themselves, though it is not always an easy process.
“In the last year alone, my office has worked countless constituents who needed help getting their rent history from the State,” said Levine in a press release. “It’s a complicated, time consuming process that tenants shouldn’t be burdened with.”
Rental history is confidential by law, and tenants must present proof of tenancy in order to access it.
Levine’s rent transparency bill is part of an 18-bill package that was introduced at City Council today, which aims to close loopholes and address common tactics landlords have used to deregulate their apartments.
For example, one bill would deny permits for a year to landlords caught falsifying occupancy information on construction documents. Another would require city and state agencies to share information – currently fragmented in different locations – that would help identify predatory landlords. — Kevin Sun