Legal Aid Testifies in Favor of NYC Council Bills Providing Tenant Protection

Ellen Davidson, Staff Attorney in the Civil Law Reform Unit, testified before the New York City Council Committee on Housing and Building, strongly supporting Intro’s 543, 1015, and 1044 providing tenant protections.

“New York City is in the midst of an ever deepening affordable housing crisis,” Ms. Davidson testified. “Tenants have no place to go if they lose their apartments.” In New York City, if a tenant leaves as a result of a landlord breaching the warranty of habitability, there are many New Yorkers who will line up to take that tenant’s place as the threat of homelessness is ever present and very real. Because of loopholes in the rent laws, landlords receive a windfall everytime an apartment become vacant. The incentive to harass tenants out of their homes has only increased over the last decade. Often it is up to the tenants to enforce their rights and the law.

Intro 543 would empower tenants to bring underlying conditions claims against landlords in Housing Court. In Intro 1015, the housing portal contemplated would allow New York City tenants to easily access the information as to what type of housing they are living in. Intro 1044 would deny building permits to owners of buildings with a specific number of unaddressed hazardous violations.