Tuesday, February 13, 2024

NYC Comptroller report cites warehousing as big problem

 NYC Comptroller's Spotlight: NYC's Housing Supply Challenge, Feb. 13, 2024: 


One particular area of concern in the gap between vacant and available units is in the rent-stabilized stock. An August 2023 report by the city’s Independent Budget Office finds that almost a third of vacant rent-stabilized units (in 2022) were also vacant in the prior year, for a total of nearly 13,400 such units. Moreover, the IBO found that this number has more than doubled since 2017, when there were estimated to be roughly 6,500 such long-vacant units. Some property owners’ advocates have argued that the increase reflects changes in the rent regulation laws in the 2019 Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act (HSTPA), making it more difficult to increase the rents on vacant units and therefore potentially decreasing owners’ incentives to repair those that require improvements. Tenants’ advocates argue that the restrictions were necessary to prevent displacement and preserve affordability, and that the increase may reflect buildings that were overleveraged prior to 2019. Whatever the reason, these units are an important resource of affordable housing that is not currently available – another issue for Albany to address this session.

Thursday, February 8, 2024

We're Celebrating a Winning Streak!

The Coalition to End Apartment Warehousing wound up 2023 with some serious wins.  Through the hard work of our members and other tenant advocates - with rallies, meetings, an influential case study emails, phone calls to elected officials, public testimony, videos, op-eds, media wrangling, tweets and more - we all achieved a lot together: 

  • The NYS Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) adopted a new set of regulations  that we hard for that discourage Frankensteining, ending a major incentive for warehousing affordable apartments.   These regulations set more affordable first rents for combined units and keep them rent stabilized.  But regulations are vulnerable to change, so it was vital that we helped enact...
  • ...the "anti-Frankensteining" bill (S.2980 as amended by S.8011), sponsored by Housing Committee chairs Senator Brian Kavanagh and Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal.  This bill codifies the regulations into statute, making them more difficult to change going forward since that would require another bill and vote in the legislature.  Gov. Hochul signed it into law in December. 
  • The New York City Council passed our tenant safety bill (Intro. 195) - which allows tenants to prompt city inspection of neighboring vacant apartments and go to court if necessary to remove hazards.  The bill was passed with the strong support of sponsors Council Members Carlina Rivera, Gale Brewer and their colleagues. 
These achievements were possible because we have a strong city-wide tenant advocacy coalition composed of community groups and committed volunteers working together.  And we have high hopes that in 2024 we can reduce warehousing and make more affordable apartments available during our ongoing housing crisis.

Help us build on our successes and join us!  For information, contact Jodie Leidecker (jodiel@coopersquare.org) of the Cooper Square Committee. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Only 1 day left for Gov to sign Frankensteining bill into law

 THIS FRIDAY, DEC. 22, 2023, is the deadline

for  Governor Hochul to sign S.2980/A.6216 - the Frankensteining bill !! 


518-474-8390, press 1 to leave a message like 

"Hi, my name is _______ and I live in the [give your zip code]. I urge Governor Hochul to sign S.2980, S.2943, and S.995 into law."

(The governor's name rhymes with "Yokel" - but she's sophisticated when dealing with real estate.)

AFTER you call her, you can also email her.   But calls are more effective!

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Use this handy QR to call the Governor!


Another victory: City Bill Passed the Council!

Our bill to protect tenants living next to warehoused apartments has passed the City Council on December 6, 2023, following our rally.  

Intro. 195-B empowers tenants to take action!  The bill:

  • requires that landlords keep vacant apartments in good repair;
  • prompts an HPD inspection of vacant apartments for health and safety violations when neighboring tenants claim their apartments are affected;  
  • lets tenants (not just HPD) go to court to get an order requiring the landlord to let HPD in to inspect.

Thanks to Council Members Carlina Rivera and Gale Brewer and all the others who signed on in support of the bill.  Next the bill goes to the Mayor. 

"City Council Passes Bill Enabling Tenants to Report Vacant Apartments

In response to “warehousing” and THE CITY’s coverage, measure cues up inspections of hazardous conditions in empty units.

DEC. 6, 2023, 4:36 P.M."


Friday, December 1, 2023

Rally this Wed., Dec.6 at 10 AM - City Hall Park - Intro. 195B

If you live near a warehoused (empty) apartment that is not well maintained, or whose open windows keep your apartment freezing, or that poses a fire hazard (got squirrels or rats chewing the wires?) or vermin, or some similar problem, then City Council bill Intro. 195B is for you!

The bill permits HPD inspection of a vacant apartment when a neighbor (reasonably) complains of harms coming from it. 

Join the rally this Wednesday, Dec. 6 at 10 AM at City Hall Park.
We're on our way to getting the bill passed!

We're being honored!

 The Cooper Square Committee is honoring us at its annual holiday party celebration on Wednesday, Dec. 20th at 6:30 PM:

CSC News

Upcoming Events

Holiday Party and Potluck Celebration

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

6:30 PM

You're invited to our year-end Holiday Party and Potluck Celebration on Wednesday, December 20th at 6:30 PM. We will be gathering in Unit 3W of 59-61 East 4th Street, a community space we are currently renting and plan to purchase in 2024. 

Bring a dish and your dancing shoes and join us for some food, music (including karaoke), games, and socializing with your neighbors and fellow travelers in the housing justice movement. 

This is a party, not a meeting! We will be giving an Organizing Excellence Award to the End Apartment Warehousing Coalition. In October 2023, the tenants in this coalition succeeded in winning a major step in the campaign to End Apartment Warehousing: the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal officially closed the “Frankensteining” loophole, one of the only mechanisms left after the Housing Stability & Tenant Protection Act of 2019 that allowed landlords to remove apartments from rent regulation. The practice of Frankensteining – or combining and reconfiguring rent-stabilized apartments – has been destroying thousands of affordable housing units in NYC. Thanks to the great work of our coalition, landlords cannot raise rents on the combined apartments beyond what the two apartments would rent for on their own under the rent laws.

We hope you can join us to celebrate this hard-fought win and spend some time with friends and neighbors at Cooper Square as we wrap up the year.

Please RSVP to csc@coopersquare.org with what you will be bringing to the potluck!

Anti-Frankensteining Bill Call-In Day

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

3 to 5 PM

Our coalition to end Frankensteining is ramping up the calls to Governor Hochul to sign our bills. From now until December 14, we are asking everyone to call every day.

Sign up for a 5 minute time-slot to call Governor Hochul's office to let her know that you support the Anti-Frankensteining Bill waiting on her desk. When it's your designated date and time, call 518-474-8390, press #3, then #1 and use the script below to leave a message. You can also use the Housing Justice for All website to place the call.

Here's what to say:

"Hi, I’m a New York City resident from [give your zip code], and I urge Governor Hochul to make this a happy holiday for all tenants by signing S2980, S2943, S1684 and S995 now! These bills will keep rent-stabilized apartments available and affordable statewide at honest rents, with known landlords.”

Prefer to make your calls with fellow Cooper Square Committee tenants? We're hosting a Zoom Call-in Party on December 13, 2023 from 3 to 5 PM. Drop in and say hi before you call the Governor!

Sign Up for a 5-minute Slot 

NYC Comptroller report cites warehousing as big problem

  NYC Comptroller's Spotlight:  NYC's Housing Supply Challenge , Feb. 13, 2024:  EXCERPT: One particular area of concern in the gap ...