Council moves to free co-op owners from rent-reg bureaucracy

Bill fixes unintended consequence of affordable-housing transparency law

Councilman Mark Levine (Credit: Getty Images)
Council member Mark Levine (Credit: Getty Images)

Certain co-op owners will soon be spared from a law requiring them to register their apartments with the city’s affordable housing portal.

The City Council passed a bill Tuesday that would exempt Housing Development Fund Corporations — income-restricted co-ops that were taken over and repaired by the city starting in the 1970s and then sold to private owners — from a 2018 law that requires owners to market “affordable” apartments on a housing portal run by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

The bill, sponsored by Manhattan Democrat Mark Levine, spares existing HDFCs, as well as Mitchell-Lama units, from registration requirements.

“They never should’ve been included in the law,” Levine said, noting that such co-op owners are “not the same as a corporate landlord.”

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After the passage of Local Law 64 in 2018, which created the HPD-run housing portal and required that it be populated with income-restricted apartments, HDFC owners criticized the measure for imposing steep fines on those who failed to comply.

Under the law, owners face fines ranging from $100 to $2,000 per month for failing to register with HPD starting July 1, 2020. According to the Council’s housing committee report, there are 33,000 HDFC co-op units throughout the city.

Levine noted that the bill’s exemption would not apply to any new HDFCs created by the city, but that issue might be addressed with separate legislation.

Write Kathryn Brenzel at

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