The Legal Aid Society Urges the State to Preserve Affordable Housing By Extending and Strengthening Emergency Tenant Protection

Attorney-in-Chief Steven Banks and Civil Law Reform Staff Attorney Ellen Davidson presented The Legal Aid Society's testimony before the New York State Assembly's Standing Committee On Housing today concerning the preservation of affordable housing and strongly supported A2674, the Omnibus Rent Regulation bill. On June 15, 2011, the Emergency Tenant Protection Act expires. If the State does not act, millions of New Yorkers will be at risk . Without rent regulation, programs that the State has created to protect our elderly residents and residents with disabilities, such as SCRIE (the rent increase exemption law for senior citizens) and DRIE (the rent increase exemption law for persons with disabilities), will become meaningless, and elderly New Yorkers and New Yorkers with disabilities will be threatened with eviction and homelessness.

As indicated in our testimony, the laws must be not only extended, they must be strengthened. We strongly support A2674, the Omnibus Rent Regulation bill. While we support every section of this bill, following are the top priorities: 1) the ETPA must be extended; 2) Vacancy Decontrol must be repealed; and 3) as New York City continues to hemorrhage affordable apartments when federal and State subsidized projects privatize, rent protections must be extended to these apartments. The Society thanked Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Committee Chair Vito Lopez for their support on these critical matters for our clients.