Landlords call tentative deal “housing policy disaster”

Tenant advocates also upset with framework floated Friday

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Gov. Kathy Hochul and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie are near the finish line on a housing deal (Getty)
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Gov. Kathy Hochul and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie are near the finish line on a housing deal (Getty)

News of a potential housing deal late Friday by New York lawmakers elicited furious responses from some landlord and tenant groups.

The framework is said to include a replacement 421a program, a version of “good cause eviction” and a lifting of the city’s cap on residential density.

It could also include a tiered system allowing landlords to increase rents more than currently permitted to pay for renovations to rent-stabilized apartments, according to a source.

As of Saturday morning, the governor and legislative leaders had not announced anything.

That didn’t stop interest groups from lambasting the terms being floated. Homeowners for an Affordable New York, a coalition of real estate groups that has lobbied against good cause eviction, urged lawmakers to reject the framework, calling it a “housing policy disaster.”

“It is a breathtaking failure to address vital and pressing issues, not a situation where ‘every stakeholder is unhappy, so it must be a good compromise,’” the group said in a statement.

Tenant advocacy group Housing Justice for All blasted the good cause eviction measure on the table as “the weakest in the country.”

“This sham of a housing deal will not address the housing crisis — but it will ensure that the real estate industry keeps getting richer off the backs of hardworking tenants,” Cea Weaver, coalition coordinator for the group, said in a statement.

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Jay Martin, executive director of landlord group the Community Housing Improvement Program, said that the tentative agreement would provide a tax break to developers of rental buildings but not help owners of the more than 900,000 aging, rent-stabilized apartments in New York City.

“It does nothing to improve the financial stability of older rent-stabilized buildings providing the majority of affordable housing in New York City,” he said in a statement. “This legislature and this governor have abandoned the renters and owners of rent-stabilized housing for billionaire developers and massive corporation owners.”

The executive director of Open New York, a group advocating for more housing and good cause eviction, lamented the reported outline of the deal.

“Nothing is final until it’s final… but the lack of significant new supply provisions and anemic tenant protections is a pretty bleak picture here,” Annemarie Gray tweeted.

One of the few tempered responses came from James Whelan, president of the Real Estate Board of New York, who said his organization would “review details of a potential housing package.”

REBNY failed to reach an agreement with construction unions’ umbrella group on wage requirements for a replacement to the property tax break 421a. The group did, however, come to terms with the laborers’ union on a citywide wage floor, which made it into the tentative housing package, according to a representative for the union.

The Adams administration, which has been pushing for a replacement 421a and for the state to lift the floor-area ratio cap on residential buildings in the city, struck a more positive note.

“If this framework holds, New Yorkers can breathe a sigh of relief,” Deputy Mayor Maria Torres-Springer said in a statement. “The package that seems to be coming together is what the Adams administration has been advocating for and working tirelessly with Albany colleagues to achieve for months.”

She added, “Pairing new tools to build housing with tenant protections will help our city build its way out of the housing crisis and keep New Yorkers in their homes.”