Subject: nytenants-digest V1 #14
nytenants-digest Monday, July 14 1997 Volume 01 : Number 014
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In this issue:
Re: "Rent Regulation Reform Act of 1997" now online
exerpts from HSN posting
More Donuts For Newt
Re: "Rent Regulation Reform Act of 1997"
Rent Controlled Apartments, What Now?
Date: Sun, 13 Jul 1997
From: TenantNet <>
We apologize for the delay as the mail has been piling up. Like
many others, we're recouping after the last six months -- and
trying to get a little vacation. And like you, we're tenants and
must deal with life's necessities, so we hope you don't mind
if we slack off a little.
TenantNet is now "old" in internet terms -- starting in August
1994 when the leading web browsers were Cello and Mosaic and no
one had even heard of tables. It's been a long haul and a lot of
work. We've always been content-based, but the site is looking it's
age and we're mulling over various ideas to make it work better
(and hopefully get some of you involved).
Every day the impact of the news rent bill becomes more clear.
We'll try to detail this later, but it appears that any apartment
now renting at $1250 or more is vulnerable to be decontrolled in
the next few years. If a landlord can get a unit up to $2,000
or more, it becomes decontrolled. Take a unit now renting for
$1670. Add the 20% vacancy increase and Bingo! You've hit $2,000
and it's immediately decontrolled.
But it doesn't stop there. From now till October 1, there's an
additional 9% (according to DHCR) that can be added. And if the
previous tenant had been in occupancy for eight years or more,
there's an additional 6/10 of one percent for each year he/she
was in occupancy. The average rent stabilized tenant (so we've
been told) stays in his/her unit for eight years -- ten years
is not unusual. So there's another six percent. All that happens
before the owner does (or claims) to do one ounce of work --
and improvements can increase the rent by 1/40th the cost.
When you add that all up, it's our (educated) guess that units
now renting for $1250 are very vulnerable. Within 3-6 years, a
significant portion of rent stabilized units will be vacancy
Someone asked, "why do you hate Democrats so much?" It may appear
so, but it's not the case. Many of the Republicans are just plain
evil -- they have no excuse. But the Democrats are supposed to
work for tenants... and they're not doing so. Most of it is
lip service and many of the so-called liberal Democrats haven't
lifted a hand to support tenants in years. Don't look at what
they say; look at what they do.
Half the Democrats in this town would be Republicans if they lived
anywhere else (Vallone, Silver, Pagan are prime examples of Democratic
politicians who are active landlord supporters). They need the
Democrat party to get elected. The other half claim they
support tenants, but aside from giving speaches, have done nothing.
We're doing what no other tenant group in this town dares to do:
speak the truth about some of these politicians. Some of you may
not like it and we expect to be villified or to be undermined.
But the funny thing is that we've received calls from many
active tenant leaders who say... "you're hitting the nail on
the head... keep it up."
Now, for some feedback.
Date: Sat, 21 Jun 1997 23:20:26 -0700
From: Richard Brummel
Subject: Re: "Rent Regulation Reform Act of 1997" now online
Thank you so much for your valiant efforts on behalf of tenants during
this cataclysmic time.
I believe all politics is circular -- what goes around comes around. I
hope this will be a wakeup call to a new group of activists who see what
the stakes are when we trust in bogus (i.e. traditional) liberals and the
so-called liberal media to protect genuine class interests, like
affordable housing. I think it will be.
Pseudo-progressives in the Assembly reveal their true allegiance -- to
the Machine -- by litmus tests like this. Yeah, they "saved rent
controls" -- like "We had to destroy the village...."
Let's keep up the pressure and re-form the traditional progressive
coalition of the poor, the old, the artistic, and enlightened
- --Richard Brummel, Queens
Date: Sat, 21 Jun 1997 23:20:26 -0700
Subject: exerpts from HSN posting
Tenant protection laws expired with Sunday, June 15.
The politicians have announced a "conceptual
agreement," without any actual bill passed. Various
politicians and some tenant groups are selling the
agreement as a "great victory" for New Yorkers. Yet,
as announced, the agreement is an obscene assault on
New York's millions of tenants:
The original threats have been defeated: Immediate
termination of rent regulation and outright vacancy
deregulation are dead. Should the credit go to the
millions of tenants with their potential for massive
rent revolts and other forms of serious resistance?
To the activists organizing independent tenant
power? Or to politicians who helped tie the tenants'
hands and restrict them to mere lobbying, and are
still gushing over the current "conceptual
Let's keep the pressure up!
Housing Solidarity Network
Date: Sat, 21 Jun 1997 23:20:26 -0700
Subject: from http://www.panix.com/~levner/nygreens/
I asked the some Green Party candidates and tenant activists what they
thought of the Pataki-Silver deal. Here is my question:
How do you feel about the result of the rent regulations battle?
Do you think it was a victory for tenants or landlords?
Craig Seeman (three-time candidate for State Assembly in
"It's a victory for the landlords. There was a time when activists fought
for progress. Now people think minimizing losses is a victory. The
public fought hard. There was good organizing work on the issue. The
fact that tenants lost shows how immune the political system is to
protesting. There must be real and serious organizing to oust
politicians who respond with partial appeasement rather than real public
benefit. We work to change the system so that it works for the public
benefit in a fundemental way. That's what I believe the Greens are
Richard Brummel (1997 candidate for City Council in Woodside) wrote:
"I am in complete agreement with the positions expressed
by tenant advocates on the TenantNet forum: the bill sells out New
York renters. It is a Trojan Horse for total de-regulation. The key
element is the vacancy bonus, which does two things that rent advocates
were fearing from actual de-control: It gradually decimates the city's
stock of affordable housing, and it creates a stronger incentive for
landlords to buy out, force out, or encourage out those tenants currently
protected -- particularly long-time residents. The bill is a polite
sellout by bogus New York liberals like Sheldon Silver, who have never
stood for anything that resembles the Green or progressive Democratic
agenda on issues like the environment and electoral reform."
Hank Bardel (1997 candidate for City Council in Staten Island) wrote:
"It's not a great deal. It's something. The Republicans are leading the
charge and the Democrats are caving in to whatever the Republicans want.
"We need rent regulations as long as there are low wages to keep people from
being in poverty. I like to work with a market economy at times, but working
people and small businesspeople don't have the incomes to pay market rates.
When incomes go up, we can start thinking about removing the rent
But that doesn't seem likely as long as the Republicans and the me-too
Democrats are attacking working people's standard of living, and people on
welfare and unemployment."
Rent regulations will come up for renewal again in the year 2003.
The Green Party of NY State still favors making these regulations
Date: Fri, 27 Jun 1997 18:15:32 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: More Donuts For Newt
In a Usenet News Group, one very confused poster wrote:
> > Here in New York, State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno finally
> > gave in to Democratic demands on the issue of rent control, but not before
> > dragging Gov. Pataki down about 10 percentage points in the polls first
> > and yielding even more than the Democrats had originally requested. Mr
> > Bruno and Mr Pataki belatedly came to their senses and decided that
> > forcing the poor, the middle class, lesbians and gays, the elderly and the
> > sick out into the street was simply bad politics. A pollster undoubtedly
> > informed the ditzy duo that the 2.7 million residents dependent on rent
> > control and stablization formed a rather sizable voting bloc. The
> > prospect of getting hammered at the polls caused republicans to abandon
> > their deeply held values and core beliefs, faster than Newt Gingrich
> > abandoned his dying wife.
To which we responded:
> ...the above section is utter nonsense. The Democrat party may
> have won -- simply because the battle was about party politics
> and not about housing issues -- but tenants suffered a major
> defeat -- worst in 25 years. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver
> and many of his "we love tenants" liberals simply sold tenants
> out, and they did it big time by agreeing to Vacancy Decontrol
> (although they changed the name). Pataki and Bruno were beaming
> after the agreement. They knew what had happened. The only tenant
> groups trying to claim a "victory" out of this are those on the
> extreme fringes who feel the need to "struggle" rather than win,
> or those who were joined at the hip with Silver (NYS Tenants &
> Neighbors Coalition AKA NYSTNC) and who are more concerned with
> saving face than saving tenants. The entire bill is available on
> TenantNet at http://tenant.net
To which the original poster responded:
> THERE IS NO VACANCY DECONTROL. You are misinformed. You are,
> perhaps, confusing this issue with luxury decontrol, encompassing
> households earning more than $175,000 annually. This, I believe, is quite
> justifiable and effects less than 1% of the city's approximate 2.7 million
> tenants... In addition, the republicans collapsed completely on the
> succession... The republicans, led by Mr Bruno, did not end rent control;
> quite the opposite... They did succeed in revitalizing the NY State
> Democratic Party. By attacking tenants for more than half a year--and
> with increasingly dire rhetoric--they gave the Democratic party a
> cause around which to rally and the time to sufficiently organize.
Since when should my tenancy rights be all about nurturing an
arguably corrupt political machine?
Date: Wed, 18 Jun 1997 19:14:37 -0400
Subject: Alan Hevesi
Dear TenantNet --
I heard Alan Hevesi speak this morning at a breakfast
meeting sponsored by Crain's New York (a magazine for business executives
in the City) and was asked a question about what happened in Albany.
Hevesi said that he has to work with Bruno on legislation for the City so
he had to be diplomatic. But Bruno staked out a position that was in tune
with his (Bruno's) fondness for the free market. Hevesi said he had no
problems with Bruno's ideological views, but wondered why Bruno felt the
need to stray so far from his Troy constituency to impose these views on
the people of New York City.
Date: Sat, 28 Jun 1997 14:12:52 -0400
From: Matt Shapiiro
Subject: Re: "Rent Regulation Reform Act of 1997"
As President of the New Jersey Tenants Organization, I am glad to see that
tenant leaders in New York who understand the serious loss NY tenants just
a tremendous organizing effort. Unfortunately, the leaders who have been
quoted widely in
the press are calling it a victory. By doing so, they have shifted the
"center" of the
debate and caused great harm to the tenant movement.
Date: Sat, 28 Jun 1997 20:44:38 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Rent Controlled Apartments, What Now?
Can anyone shed some light on what is going to happen to rent controlled
apartments when the city law expires on 3/31/00? It seems to me that at the
very least, the City Council should pass and extender bill to match the six
year extension that was recently enacted by the state. Also, the rent
stabilization laws in the city will apparently expire 3 years before the
state law. If a distorted vacancy survey is conducted in three years, the
way I see it, all rent protections can end at that time, even though the
state has a six year law. Is corrective legislation required by the city to
prevent this from happening? I am, as you can see, concerned and confused by
the 6/15/97 state law.
End of nytenants-digest V1 #14