Bill Morris in Legal/Financial on January 10, 2022
No rest for the weary. After scoring significant lobbying victories on behalf of co-ops and condominiums during 2021, advocates have won their first battle of this young year.
At a virtual hearing on Jan. 7, Sen. Julia Salazar and Sen. Brian Kavanagh, New York City Democrats and co-sponsors of the controversial Good Cause Eviction bill, promised that the bill is designed to protect rental tenants — and not subletters or shareholders in housing cooperatives. With the eviction moratorium set to expire on Jan. 15, the Good Cause Eviction bill is seen by its supporters as offering vital protections for vulnerable renters. Among those protections are severe limits on the grounds for eviction, plus a cap on rent increases at 3%, or one and a half times the Consumer Price Index.
Co-op advocates are universally opposed to having these protections extended to housing cooperatives, and several of them testified assertively at the Jan. 7 hearing. Stuart Saft, chairman of the Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums, offered this blunt assessment of the bill at the hearing: “The Good Cause Eviction legislation would be a disaster for co-ops and their residents…because it will impede the board’s ability to operate the property when a shareholder defaults.”
Geoffrey Mazel, legal counsel for the Presidents Co-op & Condo Council, added: “This bill as currently drafted would have a significant adverse effect on the hundreds of thousands of affordable co-op units of housing and no discernible benefit to their residents.”
At the end of the day, their voices were heard. Sens. Salazar and Kavanagh reassured them that the bill, like the Tenant Protection Act, is designed exclusively to protect tenants in rental buildings. Though the fate of the legislation remains uncertain, co-op advocates were elated by the promise from Salazar and Kavanagh that co-ops will not be affected by it.
“We were extremely pleased to hear their comments," the PCCC said in a statement, "and we thank them for clarifying the intent of this statute."
Engage, enrage, ask questions and give answers with your community of board members. Submit your questions and comments here!
Co-op and condo board business broken down into bite-sized bits - 2 stories each week. Read now on all digital devices.