The Daily Dirt: Controversial bills hit governor’s desk

Industry professionals will soon learn their dreaded fate

Rent Law Changes, LLC Bills Hit Hochul’s Desk: The Daily Dirt
Gov. Kathy Hochul (Getty)

The clock is ticking! 

Three bills that the real estate industry dreads are now on Gov. Kathy Hochul’s desk. 

Two of them, according to industry professionals, would open the floodgates for rent overcharge cases. One of those expands the definition of fraud in such cases, and the other allows tenants to consult rent histories beyond the four-year lookback when seeking to calculate their legal rent after June 14, 2019.

In October, the state’s housing regulator certified rule changes to limit the first rent for vacant, rent-stabilized apartments when they are combined into a single unit. The new rules also made it more difficult for buildings to qualify for substantial rehabilitation, one of the few remaining avenues available for landlords to deregulate their buildings.

The two outstanding bills also require all buildings that have undergone substantial rehabs to retroactively apply for deregulated status within six months of the bill’s enactment. Zachary Rothken, an attorney with Rosenberg & Estis, said this would further scare lenders away from rent-stabilized buildings.

“Any building that was substantially rehabilitated now has built-in questions,” he said.

On Tuesday, another controversial bill hit the governor’s desk: the LLC Transparency Act. This would require limited liability companies to provide the state with basic information about the people behind the entities, including their names and the addresses of their businesses. Brokers and real estate groups object to this information being made public, rather than just collected and maintained by the state government, arguing that investors and would-be buyers would be scared off by the absence of privacy.

The governor has 10 days to veto or sign these bills. I asked her office where she stands on them, but a spokesperson gave the same answer given since the legislature passed them: “Governor Hochul is reviewing the legislation.”

What we’re thinking about: 32BJ SEIU says its office cleaners are moving forward with strike preparations because the Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations wants them to contribute to their health care premiums. Will janitors and building owners find common ground before their contract expires Dec. 31, or will there be a strike? Send a note to

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A thing we’ve learned: The 1954 musical “Brigadoon” was shot in Culver City in Los Angeles County. Gene Kelly, who stars in the film, and musical producer Arthur Freed couldn’t find the right location in the Highlands of Scotland, according to the National Library of Scotland.

Elsewhere in New York…

— An anonymous donor has swooped in to temporarily save GrowNYC compost collection sites at the city’s green markets, Gothamist reports. The donor provided enough money to keep the compost collection program running and its 53 employees on the job through the end of June. Mayor Eric Adams’ budget cuts threatened to shut down the program and lay off the employees by Dec. 18.

— Speaking of the budget cuts, the city’s largest public-sector union is suing Adams and his administration over the elimination of thousands of its jobs, Politico New York reports. DC 37 alleges that City Hall failed to complete a required cost-benefit analysis before proposing the elimination of 2,300 “job training participants” in the Parks and Sanitation departments.

— Testimony in former President Trump’s civil fraud trial came to an end Wednesday, the New York Times reports. Justice Arthur Engoron is not expected to deliver a decision until next month.

Closing Time

Residential: The priciest residential closing Wednesday was $16.5 million for three condo units at 40 West 74th Street on the Upper West Side.

Commercial: The most expensive commercial closing of the day was $9.2 million for a 65-unit building at 65-84 Booth Street and the neighboring lot.

New to the Market: The priciest residence to hit the market Wednesday was a condo at 432 Park Avenue in Midtown asking $35 million. Brown Harris Stevens has the listing.
Breaking Ground: The largest new building filing of the day was for a 4,100-square-foot, three-story, two-family home at 79 South Goff Avenue, Staten Island. Valenziano Architecture filed the permit application. — Jay Young

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