After facing backlash from co-op owners, the City Council is moving to amend a law that requires landlords to register their rent-regulated apartments with the city.
Council member Mark Levine introduced a bill that will change the definition of “affordable units” that must be registered with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s online affordable housing portal. Local Law 64, which went into effect last year, included Housing Development Fund Corporations, co-ops that were taken over and repaired by the city in the 1970s and then sold to private owners. Though there are income restrictions on some units, the co-ops are not subject to rent regulation. Still, Local Law 64 exposes owners to fines ranging from $100 to $2,000 per month for failing to register with HPD starting in 2020. Levine’s bill would specifically exempt HDFCs from the new requirements.
“Local Law 64 was always intended to target deep-pocketed developers who were trying to avoid appropriately filling rent-regulated units in their buildings,” Levine said in an statement. “This new legislation will once and for all address the concerns of HDFC shareholders who have been desperately trying to fix the problem before they are unfairly fined.”
Earlier this month, a group of HDFC owners told the New York Daily News that the law was “insane” for making co-op owners register their units. At the time, the Daily News reported that Levine and the original bill’s sponsor, Council member Ben Kallos, couldn’t agree on how to amend the law. Kallos is listed among the bill’s sponsors.
“From the beginning, fixing this problem has always been more important than the politics of how we did it,” Kallos said in a statement. “Now that we have found a path forward together to definitively exclude HDFCs from Local Law 64, we can focus on bringing tens of thousands of units of affordable housing back online and putting them in an easy-to-access portal so New Yorkers can actually find the apartments their tax dollars are subsidizing.”
The law still applies to projects receiving tax breaks, including Affordable New York (formerly known as 421a), and those receiving zoning bonuses for including affordable apartments through inclusionary or mandatory inclusionary housing programs.