Date: Fri, 05 Dec 1997 09:52:05 -0500
Subject: New Landlord License to Lie



The Housing and Buildings Committee of the City Council will vote on a
critical bill (No. 994-A) on Monday, December 8 at 11:00 AM, at 250
Broadway, 23rd Floor



994-A would allow landlords to decide for them selves when housing code
violations are corrected and then report to the city (through an
architect or engineer hired by the landlord) that their building
violations have been corrected (called "self certification").


Thirty days after a landlord reports that violations are corrected
(except for violations of no heat or hot water), all evidence that the
violations ever existed would disappear from the City's records


Landlords have a bad track record of falsely certifying that violations
are corrected!

994-A would seriously hurt the city's ability to enforce the Housing
Maintenance Code by erasing evidence of violations (even where
conditions still exist). This would limit the city's ability to take
landlords to court or to collect fines for violations and would cause
New York City's housing stock to get even worse!

994-A would seriously hurt a tenant's already limited ability to force
the landlord to make repairs because vital records of their violations
would be lost.

Tenants would lose their ability to defend against many aspects of suits
brought against them where their conditions are bad.

Come To:  250 Broadway -- 23rd Floor
When:     Monday, December 8, 1997, 11 AM
Re:       Housing and Buildings Committee Bill 944-A

Come prepared to tell the committee why 994-A is bad for you.
Don't let NYC Housing Get Any Worse!

The Tenant Network for Residential Tenants
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Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant 
activists and is not considered legal advice.

Date: Wed, 10 Dec 1997 01:36:17 -0500
Subject: Daily News: City Eying Break For Landlords

City Eying Break For Landlords

By Michael Finnegan
Daily News, Dec 9, 1997

Tenants were in an uproar yesterday as a City Council 
committee passed a bill to let landlords clear years of 
housing violations with no city inspection.

Landlords would be able to have their own architects or 
engineers certify violations have been corrected.

The controversial bill would throw out such violations 
as lack of heat or hot water, mice or roach infestations, 
broken windows and faulty windows, leaky ceilings and 
fire hazards.

With several dozen tenants shouting "We don't want it!" 
and "Kill the bill!" the Housing and Buildings Committee 
passed the measure, 5 to 3, and sent it to the full Council 
for a Dec. 17 vote.

"This is a disgrace," said Greenwich Village tenant Rosalie 
Rossi, who complained of mice, leaky walls and fire hazards 
in her Perry St. building. "It's an outrage to tenants."

The bill's co-sponsors, Councilmen Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn) 
and Archie Spigner (D-Queens), said they introduced it at 
the suggestion of a landlord group, the Rent Stabilization 

Landlords said the measure would help the city clear its 
backlog of 3 million housing code violations, freeing up 
inspectors to check on new tenant complaints.

"This bill makes an enormous amount of sense," said Dan 
Margulies, executive director of the Community Housing 
Improvement Program, another landlord group.

The deluge of outstanding violations has overwhelmed the 
city's 220 housing inspectors, who numbered more than 800 
in the 1970s.

The backlog has also been a sore spot for landlords, who 
must clear violations in order to sell or refinance their 

But when inspectors visit the buildings to verify that 
violations are corrected, they often find new ones requiring 
still more repairs. Tenant advocates say that is a crucial 
incentive to get landlords to keep living conditions decent.

"This would basically take the city out of the business of 
inspecting code violations," said Anne Pasmanick, director 
of the Community Training and Resource Center, a group 
that works to improve code enforcement.

"This is one of the worst pieces of anti-tenant legislation 
that I've ever seen," said Councilman Stanley Michels 

A spokeswoman for City Council Speaker Peter Vallone 
(D-Queens) said he supports the measure.

Stephen Tinnermon, a deputy commissioner of housing 
preservation, said the Giuliani administration also 
backs the bill's concept. But a spokeswoman for Mayor 
Giuliani would not say whether he would sign it into 

The Tenant Network for Residential Tenants
  NYTenants Interactive:
  NYTenants Express:
  NYtenants Discussion List: email to  and in 
  the body of the message put "subscribe nytenants".
Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant 
activists and is not considered legal advice.

Date: Thu, 11 Dec 1997 05:43:12 -0500
Subject: Tell Vallone NO to Landlord Self-Certification


City Council, at the request of the landlord
lobby, is trying to push through an anti-tenant
bill (Intro 994-A) that would allow landlords to
falsely claim that violations have been removed
from their buildings.  If this bill passes into
law, landlords will be allowed to hire architects
and engineers to swear that violations had been
fixed and to remove them from the city's records
without an official inspection. Government audits
have shown that landlords and their agents lie
40% of the time when claiming that violations
have been fixed.  If passed, this law will make
tenants and the city powerless to fight lead
paint violations, structural problems and many
other hazardous conditions.  This bill would
allow landlords to get away with leaving
dangerous, unhealthy conditions in their
apartments and buildings.

GOVERNOR NEXT YEAR.  He will decide if this bill
passes. Tenants must tell him that if he votes
with the landlords, tenants will not vote for
him.  Vallone cannot beat Pataki without tenant
support.  Join us in one or all of the events
listed below.  Stop this bill in the City
   WHEN:   DECEMBER 15, 1997
           4:00 pm - 7:30 pm
   WHERE:  22-45 31st Street
           Astoria, Queens
   Take the N train to the last stop in
   Queens - Ditmars Blvd.
   (30 Minutes travel time from Lexington Avenue 
   in Manhattan)
2. CALL SPEAKER VALLONE at (212)788-7210 or (718)274-4500

   Let him know if he expects tenants support in his run for
   governor, he needs to support tenants.

3. CALL YOUR COUNCIL MEMBER at (212)788-7100

For a list of council members and phone numbers, go to:

For a list of council member email addresses, go to:
(but still call as many never heard of email)

Tell them that this bill must be stopped
immediately and urge them to vote "No" when Intro
994-A comes before the full Council.


   at 1:00 p.m. - City Hall, 2nd floor.
   Come early and get a seat, the Council 
   will vote on Intro 994-A at this meeting.
For More Information:

Met Council on Housing  (212)693-0553
Queens League of United Tenants (718)261-8015 ext. 6
Astoria Concerned Neighbors (718)274-0717 
SRO Tenants United (212)799-9638
City Wide Task Force on Housing Court (212)982-5512

The Tenant Network for Residential Tenants
  NYTenants Interactive:
  NYTenants Express:
  NYtenants Discussion List: email to  and in 
  the body of the message put "subscribe nytenants".
Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant 
activists and is not considered legal advice.

Date: Tue, 16 Dec 1997 14:31:24 -0500
Subject: Vallone Backs Off on Landlord Self-Certification

     (McKee tries to take credit for others' work, again)

It appears both City Council Speaker Peter Vallone and Mayor Giuliani 
are backing off Councilmember Anthony Weiner's Bill now before City 
Council which would allow landlords to self-certify that they have 
removed violations.

A demonstration was held Monday in front of Vallone's district 
office organized by Astoria Concerned Neighbors, Queens League of United 
Tenants, Met Council, West Side SRO Tenants United and other groups. It was 
"lively, loud and effective," said Penny LaForest of Queens League of United 
Tenants. Vallone came outside and got into his car without speaking to 
demonstrators, but smiled and waved to them. 

It appeared to several tenant advocates that Tenants and Neighbors' 
Michael McKee, who attempted to undermine the demonstration and
who would not publicize it in his flyer, is now trying to take credit for 
successfully pressuring Vallone and the Mayor into backstepping by 
scheduling a last-minute news conference.

However, according to several tenant advocates, McKee's publicity grab is
all too familiar in that he undercut many tenant efforts during the
Rent Wars last spring and summer and acquiesced to what is now known as
the [Assemblyman Shel] "Silver Sellout" to landlords, and the real 
pressure came from many sources including the Queens Civic Congress, 
which reportedly opposed the Weiner bill and who had strongly voiced 
their objection to Queens Borough President Claire Shulman. Queens 
homeowners, who have a high rate of illegal conversions of homes into 
apartments, are worried that the next dilution of city housing standards 
will be on them.

According the NY Newsday, Vallone was quoted as saying he would
put aside the bill (at least for now).

   "It's not a giveaway to landlords," Vallone (D-Astoria) insisted in
   a WNYC radio interview with host Brian Lehrer. "But if people are not
   understanding it, then it will get shelved this year."

   Under the bill, approved  last week by the council's Housing
   Committee, landlords would be able to have their architects or engineers
   certify that old violations have been corrected.

   Among the code problems that could be cleared are mice or roach
   infestations, broken or faulty windows, leaky ceilings and fire hazards.

   Mayor Rudolph Giuliani weighed in against the bill after Vallone's
   remarks. "A person should not be able to self-certify their violations
   away," Giuliani said, adding he expressed his reservations privately
   Friday to Vallone.

   The mayor's comments put him on the same side as tenant groups with
   which he clashed over the city board that regulates rents.

   Vallone, at the same time, risks the wrath of tenant organizations
   as he sets out to run for governor next year.

There are several aspects of this proposed legislation that
really haven't hit the media.

This past week, Madison Avenue has been closed from bricks 
falling from a skyscraper. Inspections have revealed the 
original construction was shoddy where the brick facing was 
improperly fastened to the building's structure. For years 
the Department of Buildings have had a policy where 
architects and engineers are allowed to "self-certify" 
the method of construction and compliance with the 
Building Code. The theory is that no architect or engineer 
would put their professional license on the line,
but years have also shown there is little enforcement and
it takes a situation like Madison Avenue to highlight
the problem. It happens much more frequently in smaller
buildings and there's little or no downside for building 
owners or their hired architects.

Landlords are correct that the city's remaining 220 inspectors
can't adequately do the job of inspecting the city's housing
and also checking for cleared violations. Tenants have known 
this for years. But pretending that violations are corrected 
(as this legislation would do) is political nonsense (which 
we see too often from both parties). A 1995 audit by NYC 
Comptroller Hevesi and Senator Leichter (available on TenantNet) 
shows that up to 40% of landlord "certifications" are falsified, 
not an insignificant number. The correct thing to do would be 
to bring the number of inspectors back to the previous level 
of around 800. Would Mr. Vallone or the Mayor consider that?
Tenant Groups would be smart at this time, now that the issue
is focused on city inspections, to push for more inspectors.

Another reason landlords don't want inspectors going back to
their buildings is that inspectors (at least the conscientious
ones) could and are supposed to write new violations they 
discover in the process of checking for supposed corrected ones.

The Tenant Network for Residential Tenants
  NYTenants Interactive:
  NYTenants Express:
  NYtenants Discussion List: email to  and in 
  the body of the message put "subscribe nytenants".
Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant 
activists and is not considered legal advice.


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