The Daily Dirt: Senator willing to negotiate rent limit on “good cause”

Salazar, other progressives lay out demands for housing deal

New York Lawmakers Mull Housing Policies in Budget

A photo illustration of Governor of New York Kathy Hochul and the New York State Capitol in Albany (Getty)

We’re almost one month away from the state budget deadline. 

The prospects of a housing package coming together before then are not great. But a lot can happen between now and April 1, and we’re still waiting on the one-house budget resolutions from the Senate and Assembly to get a better sense of where the chambers will land on key proposals. 

Last week, we got a glimpse of how some lawmakers are thinking about 485x, the proposed replacement for 421a in the governor’s budget. Gov. Kathy Hochil pitched a “placeholder” that would hinge on developers and the building trades reaching an agreement on construction wage requirements for the new program. 

This month a group of 17 senators sent a letter advocating against this set up, calling for legislation that establishes specific prevailing wage requirements citywide and ramps of enforcement around these wages. Two dozen Assembly members, led by Assembly member Kenneth Burgos, sent an identical letter to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. 

The bottom line: Lawmakers do not want to outsource the new 421a.

Sen. Julia Salazar, who signed onto the Senate letter, told me on Tuesday that she thinks this can be accomplished in the budget. Salazar is also pushing for a state-based housing voucher program and her good cause eviction measure to be included in any housing package. The bill allows tenants to challenge evictions resulting from “unreasonable” rent increases, defined in the bill as more than 3 percent or 1.5 times than the regional inflation rate, whichever is higher. 

Salazar said the numbers are negotiable, but “unreasonable” must be clearly defined in the bill. (New Jersey’s version of good cause bars “unconscionable” rent increases, but leaves it up to localities to figure out what that means.) 

“That detail is subject to negotiation,” she said, “but it is important that the integrity of the bill is maintained.”

She and tenant advocates have pushed back on what they see as efforts to otherwise dilute the measure by excluding parts of the state or certain landlords. 

What we’re thinking about: Do you think branded condos will ever catch on in NYC to the extent they have in Miami? Send a note to

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A thing we’ve learned: The number of cost-burdened renters (those who spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent and utilities) rose to 50 percent in 2022, an increase of 3.2 percentage points from 2019, according to the latest report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University

Elsewhere in New York…

— The FDNY found that 70 people were living in an illegal basement apartment in a commercial building in Queens, Gothamist reports. Tenant Ebou Sarr runs a furniture store in the building and says he was using the space to house migrants, seeking to help fellow West Africans. Sarr was charging them each $300 for food and a bed. “If I’m being penalized, it’s fine,” he said. “I want them to get the message. I want them to give us the help that we need.”

— Chris McCreight, chief of staff Council member Justin Brannan, is vying for a state Assembly seat in the 46th District in Brooklyn, City & State reports. He will face off with incumbent Alec Brook-Krasny, a former Democrat who registered as a Republican in 2022. 

— On Monday, lawmakers voted against the congressional maps proposed by the state’s redistricting commission. They introduced their own maps that they plan to pass this week, Politico New York reports. The lines in those maps are not that different from the districts drawn by the commission, but they do potentially give a small boost to Rep. Tom Suozzi, whose district in northern Nassau County district would include a small area of Suffolk County.

Closing Time

Residential: The priciest residential closing on Tuesday was $5.5 million for a condominium unit at 415 Greenwich Street, in Tribeca. 

Commercial: The most expensive commercial closing of the day was $5 million for a 10,000-square-foot property at 222-14 Linden Boulevard in Cambria Heights. New to the Market: The priciest residential property to hit the market on Tuesday was $13.7 million for a co-op unit at 1175 Park Avenue on the Upper West Side. Sloane Square NYC has the listing.

Matthew Elo