Tenants Have New Rights!

NYS passed Good Cause Eviction Protections against rent hikes and unfair evictions in April 2024. If you are eligible for Good Cause, you now have a right to remain in your home as long as you pay rent and follow your lease.

13 Arrested as 200+ Tenants, Public Advocate Protest Real Estate Industry’s Obstruction of Affordable Housing

Tenants fed up with real estate industry for killing New York with rent hikes, evictions, and gentrification

Real estate industry is blocking a housing package in Albany that would make NY housing more affordable

NEW YORK, NY – Over two hundred tenants and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams blocked the entrance to the headquarters of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), the state’s leading real estate lobby group, casting a spotlight on the real estate industry’s nefarious, greed-driven tactics that are behind New York’s affordability crisis. 

New York City rents have hit record highs, propelled by unchecked real estate industry greed. While every day New Yorkers struggle to afford housing, New York City’s millionaire population has grown by 48%. Middle class New Yorkers have fled the city in droves in search of lower housing costs.

Police arrested Public Advocate Williams and 12 tenants as renters held banners saying “Real Estate is Killing New York” and chanted, “The rent is too damn high.” 

“The real estate industry’s relentless pursuit of profit has unleashed a wave of rent hikes, evictions, and aggressive gentrification tactics, displacing families and tearing apart our neighborhoods,” said Cea Weaver, Coalition Director of Housing Justice for All. “Real estate has spent millions of dollars they’ve made off of renters’ backs to block tenant protections – all so they can keep getting rich off of rent gouging vulnerable families. It’s time to hold the real estate industry accountable for its role in the housing emergency that grips our state. New York’s leaders must stand with working families over real estate and protect tenants in this year’s budget.”

“Today I and others face arrest on behalf of tenants across New York facing eviction as rents rise and landlords continue to put profit over people,” said Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. “We are blocking the entrance to REBNY just as they have blocked real tenant protections from being enacted in Albany through their disingenuous lobbying and spending. At this crucial moment of the housing and homelessness crisis in New York, we need to not only protect the progress we have fought for over years, but march forward, enshrining Good Cause eviction protections into state law and expanding access to deeply affordable, income-targeted housing. Last month, the city’s worst landlord was arrested for his negligence in harming his tenants. Today, we were arrested to protest REBNY’s active campaign to harm tenants statewide, to urge state lawmakers to reject big real estate’s influence, and to finally pass the protections New Yorkers desperately need.”

New York state leaders could address the housing crisis in the state budget by passing a comprehensive housing package including Good Cause Eviction, which would protect nearly every New York renter from unfair rent hikes and evictions. But the real estate lobby is working overtime to block the package and gut New York’s rent stabilization system

A new report finds that the real industry spent nearly $14 million on lobbying over the last five years to block tenant protections and a desperately needed housing plan, lobbying top legislators and staff more than 1,000 times against Good Cause Eviction protections alone. 

Tenant groups and labor unions have blasted the real estate industry in recent weeks for refusing to negotiate in good faith, with the New York City District Council of Carpenters saying, “The common ingredient in every hold-up right now is REBNY. It doesn’t matter how powerful you are, how rich you are, no one should be able to take the entire state hostage because you’re not getting everything you wanted.”

The consequences of not passing a housing package this year would be dire: after the state did not pass Good Cause Eviction last year, 56% of market rate tenants in New York City faced rent hikes. Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez has said keeping rent affordable is key for an electoral victory for Democrats in 2024, calling on Albany Democrats to stand strong against the real-estate lobby and pass Good Cause Eviction in an op-ed in the New York Daily News on Friday.

In addition to Good Cause Eviction as written, tenants called on state leaders to defend rent stabilization from attacks from the real estate industry, create the Housing Access Voucher Program, which would help tens of thousands of families get out of the shelter system and into stable housing; and create a statewide Right to Counsel, which would guarantee a lawyer for every tenant facing eviction in New York.

 “The real estate industry continues to block desperately-needed tenant protections for New Yorkers across the state,” said Jasmine Gripper, Co-Director of the New York Working Families Party. “Many families are being crushed by the housing crisis and out-of-control rents. We need our state leaders to stand up to the real estate industry and its greed and pass a comprehensive housing package that includes statewide Good Cause.”

“The housing affordability crisis has already pushed everyday New Yorkers to the brink,” said Rebecca Garrard, Deputy Executive Director at Citizen Action of New York. “REBNY’s insatiable greed for profits is unconscionable, and we’re proud to stand against them today and every day. We need Good Cause tenant protections now, and we won’t allow Kathy Hochul to continue prioritizing her wealthy friends and donors over the people who make New York the great state it is.”

“In order to turn a profit, developers and landlords use all sorts of tactics to evict tenants who are poor. Governor Hochul: Why do you want to strip back rent-stabilization? You will force longtime tenants out of the neighborhood,” said Mr. Wang, a Chinatown leader from CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities. “As working class tenants, we must unite in our shared fight against developers and against gentrification. We must protect rent-stabilization. We must take charge of our communities.”

“There has never been a more urgent time not only to defend local Right to Counsel laws but to extend this right to all New Yorkers. In NYC, for over a year, tens of thousands of tenants facing eviction have been denied access to their right to an attorney in housing court; meanwhile, over 176,000 New Yorkers are facing eviction statewide. Landlords continue to try to undermine our rights at home and in court. We NEED state leadership to pass and fund Statewide Right to Counsel to protect us from harassment and displacement!” said Randy Dillard, CASA Tenant Leader and Right to Counsel Coalition Steering Committee Member.

Bernarda Torres, Brooklyn Tenant and member of Make the Road New York, said, “Far too often, I have decided to stay quiet when my apartment is in need of repairs for fear of retaliation from my landlord. I’m afraid he would increase my rent, which is already too high, or perhaps worse–he would want to unjustly evict me. Despite being a tenant in Brooklyn for more than twenty years, I have no protections against unreasonable rent hikes or unfair evictions. Today, we are sending a clear message to Albany: we must pass Good Cause Eviction legislation now. Our families, throughout the state, deserve to live with stability, healthy conditions and without fear of being pushed onto the streets.”

“With rents and homelessness near all time highs while profits of rent-stabilized landlords are up over 10% since last year (let alone unregulated landlords), it’s frankly disgusting that Albany is holding basic tenant protections hostage on behalf of big real estate. Until they side with the millions of New York tenants over a handful of millionaires and billionaires, we’re going to keep escalating,” said Charlie Dulik, Organizing Director at Housing Conservation Coordinators

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Housing Justice for All is a statewide coalition of more than 80 organizations representing tenants and homeless New Yorkers, united in our fight for housing as a human right.

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