Saturday, February 12, 2011

Protect tenant rights

Rob from Save the Lower East Side sent this information along...

The June expiration of rent regulations in New York should be a personal concern of every renter, regulated or not. The erosion of rent regulations deprives all renters of rights.

Rent deregulation encourages landlords to withhold basic services since deregulated renters are often afraid to complain to city agencies, knowing that the landlord may retaliate with an unreasonable rent hike at renewal, just to get rid of an outspoken tenant. Tenants associations are weakened by that fear, so all tenants, regulated or not, are harmed. Communities are harmed by market-rate expansion and the transiency it brings, no less than its gentrification effects. The city's culture is harmed by the decreasing availability of affordable space so essential to new artists and communities devoted to creativity and social reflection and social action.

As the pool of regulated tenants dwindles, so does its voting clout. It is more important than ever for all renters to band together to make their voices clear. From Met Council on Housing:

Kick-Off Party for the Met Council on Housing's 2011 Campaigns!

Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011, 1-4 PM

61 East 4th Street, 4th Floor Btwn. the Bowery & 2nd Ave (wheelchair accessible)

Learn about our 2011 campaigns, how you can get involved, and party with a purpose!
• Rent-Law Reform
• Tenants' Bill of Rights
• Stop the Tenant Blacklist

The event is free and open to all. No need to RSVP.

[Image via Met Council on Housing]


Anonymous said...

Only a 4 hour notice? Awesome!

EV Grieve said...

Uh, yeah...sorry about that.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I know this is a bit late to the post but I'm dealing with issues right now that probably should be brought to housing court but I don't want to be blacklisted. I think it should be noted that the entire concept of tenants rights is nothing more than a charade as long as actually standing up for your rights ruins your prospects of renting in the city.

Currently, standing up for yourself can be punished via indirect retaliation where a majority of landlords will collude against renting you an apartment if you assert your tenant rights. This means that tenants rights are worth less than the paper they are written on to the tenant but valuable to the landlord as the landlord can point to them as proof that the tenant-landlord contract is asymmetric without there being a set of landlord rights that have the same apparent legal weight.

It seems like until there can be no retaliatory measures taken against tenants exercising their rights, those rights are essentially worthless. And if those rights are worthless, then it would be better for a landlord/tenant situation in which landlords have a reduced bar for eviction (say 30 days notice no questions asked) but that tenants are not required to enter into contract and also may leave at any time. If I can't force my apartment to be fixed without ruining my chances of renting, then my "rights" essentially prevent me from finding a suitable place to live because of the symmetric-on-paper rights the landlord has against me breaking my lease.