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De Blasio Administration Launches Tenant Protection Ad Campaign and Website

October 21, 2019

NEW YORK—Today, the de Blasio Administration launched a campaign to educate tenants on their new rights under the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019. The ads, designed by The Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants, give New York City renters the information they need to hold their landlords accountable. The ads will run from October 21st – December 15th and will be displayed in subways, bus shelters, small businesses, Staten Island ferry terminals, community newspapers, Link kiosks, and online. The city’s Public Engagement Unit will be going door to door to make sure tenants know about the new protections and how to advocate for themselves.

“The State Legislature passed some of the most progressive rent reforms we’ve seen in decades, but if New Yorkers don’t know their rights, it will all be for nothing,” said Mayor de Blasio. “This campaign will arm New Yorkers with the knowledge to fight harassment and stay in their homes.”

“In order to fully benefit from the Home Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019, renters in New York City need to know about the protections they have and need to feel empowered to advocate for themselves. This campaign is designed to do just that,” said Jackie Bray, Director of the Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants.

Tenants across New York City won new protections this summer due to new State legislation. The new laws make it harder for landlords to evict tenants and strengthened protections for New Yorkers living in rent regulated apartments. These laws are enforced by the State's Division of Homes and Community Renewal (DHCR). These protections include protection from large security deposits, onerous application fees, limits on how rent can increase, and limits how much landlords can charge regulated tenants for building improvements.

If you have questions about your rights or worry you are being illegally harassed you can find more information at  the Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants’ new website or call 311.

"The State Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 was a historic triumph for New York renters and a once in a generation overhaul of rent regulation laws. We're committed to building on our partner's work; this reform is just the beginning of our tenant engagement and protection efforts," said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been. "We're thrilled to partner with the Mayor's Office to Protect Tenants to empower and educate tenants about their rights." 

“Today marks an important step in the Administration’s longstanding efforts to ensure New York City tenants are protected and can continue to call this city home,” said Mayor’s Public Engagement Director Omar Khan. “We are proud to partner with the Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants to expand on our existing proactive outreach so tenants know their rights and can access the free City services that protect those rights. This kind of targeted proactive outreach, paired with the advertising campaign launching today, has a meaningful impact on the New Yorkers who are most at risk of facing abuse.”

“This administration has worked tirelessly to push forward our goal of making New York the fairest big city, and the State’s landmark legislation is a huge step in the right direction. Rent stabilization is one of the strongest tenant protection tools we have, and the reforms out of Albany make those tools even stronger,” said HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll. “I thank the Mayor for leading the charge to connect New Yorkers to the resources they need to live and thrive in this city.”

“Every New Yorker deserves a safe place to live, which is why protecting our city’s tenants from construction-related tenant harassment, through enhanced tenant protection plans and enforcement inspections, is a top priority at the Department,” said Buildings Commissioner Melanie E. La Rocca. “We applaud Mayor de Blasio for his continued leadership in helping to create powerful resources for those that call our city home. Public awareness campaigns like this are critical to making sure New Yorkers know their rights, and the resources available to them, when it comes to renting in our city.”

New protections for all tenants include:

Rent Increase Notice - Landlords are required to provide notice to tenants if they intend to raise rent more than five percent or if they do not intend to renew the lease.

Unlawful Eviction - Unlawful eviction occurs when a landlord evicts or attempts to evict a tenant without a warrant of eviction or other court order. Unlawful evictions are now a misdemeanor punishable by civil penalty fines of $1,000-$10,000 per violation.

Warrants and Stays of Evictions - After a judgement has been granted in Housing Court, a judge will issue an order indicating the day after which a city marshal may execute a warrant of eviction. The marshal must now serve a 14 day notice upon the tenant prior to execution of the warrant of eviction. The court may stay the issuance of a warrant for up to one year.

Reversing Evictions - Many tenants are evicted for non-payment of rent. Changes to the law make it easier for families to reverse eviction decisions for non-payment of rent if they are able to come up with the money before the city marshal arrives.

Apartment Application Fee - Application fees for an apartment are limited to fees for background checks and credit checks, and now cannot exceed $20. The $20 limitation applies to licensed real estate brokers and salespeople acting as an agent of the landlord, lessor, sub-lessor or grantor.

Late Fees - Late fees can only be charged if rent is received more than five days after the due date established in the lease, and cannot exceed $50 or five percent of the rent, whichever is less.

New protections for rent regulated tenants include:

Elimination of Vacancy Decontrol - Owners can no longer remove a unit from rent stabilization after a vacancy if the rent has reached a certain dollar threshold. Previously, owners could deregulate stabilized units and charge incoming tenants market rate once the unit became vacant if the rent amount reached $2,774.76.

Elimination of Vacancy Bonus - Prior to June 14, 2019, owners of rent stabilized apartments were awarded up to a 20% bonus to the "legal" rent in between tenancies. Today that bonus has been eliminated.

Rent Increases are Based on the Current Rent You Pay - Today, rent increases with some very narrow exceptions - currently set by the Rent Guidelines Board at 1.5% for a one year lease and 2.5% for a two year lease - must be based on the preferential rent.

Limits on How Much Owners can Charge Tenants for Building Improvements – The new laws significantly limit the rent increases that can be charged for Major Capital Improvements (MCI) and Individual Apartment Improvements (IAI). Examples of MCIs include new boilers, and new roofs. Examples of IAIs include bathroom or kitchen renovations. 

These are just several of the key changes in the new rent laws. To learn more: visit New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) or NYC.gov/tenantprotection.

Tenants who are being harassed by their landlord can file a complaint by calling 311. Rent regulated tenants can also file a complaint with DHCR. To learn more about reporting tenant harassment, tenants can visit the resources page on NYC.gov/tenantprotection.

Resources available to tenants include:

Legal Services - In 2017, New York City became the first city in the United States to implement a plan to ensure that every tenant facing eviction in housing court or public housing administrative proceedings can have access to legal services through the Universal Access to Counsel law signed that year. This initiative is run by the Human Resources Administration's Office of Civil Justice (OCJ), which provides anti-eviction legal services in Housing Court and in community offices through nonprofit law firms across the city. Learn more here.

Home repairs - Tenants may file a complaint by calling 311, using TTY 212-504-4115, or by using 311 online. If a landlord does not make repairs, HPD and DOB will inspect your home, issue violations, and hire city contractors to make repairs if your landlord refuses to comply with HPD and DOB orders.

Housing Applications- Through the Housing Ambassadors Program, HPD partners with community-based organizations throughout the city  to help people prepare and apply for affordable housing. Housing Ambassadors provide information and assistance with the application process.

Rental Assistance- HRA can help New Yorkers connect to rental assistance programs like CityFHEPS, and other programs available through the State and Federal Government. To find out if you qualify, call NYC's Human Resources Administration info line at 718-557-1399 for more information.

“After years of displacement caused by rent laws that worked against them, New York’s tenants finally have a seat at the table thanks to a new Senate that eagerly championed housing affordability in a historic session,” said Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris. “Our sweeping new laws provide the strongest tenant protections in decades and I am proud to have worked with grassroots organizers to deliver this historic progress. I am pleased the City  is taking steps to ensure tenants are aware of their rights under the reforms we enacted." 

Senator Brian Kavanagh, Chair of the Senate Housing Committee said, “The Housing Stability and Tenant Protect Act is the biggest set of steps to protect tenants from displacement and to stabilize communities that we’ve taken in New York in many decades. To maximize the positive impact the new law will have, it’s essential that tenants and landlords are aware of the new provisions and that tenants have the opportunity to exercise their rights. I applaud the City, especially Jackie Bray of the Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants, for putting forth this effort to communicate clearly and forcefully about the new law, and I look forward to continuing to work with the City—as well as the State Homes and Community Renewal agency, which is playing a critical role in implementing the new law—and everyone who is committed to ensuring that we protect every New Yorker’s right to a secure, stable home.”

“I commend Mayor de Blasio and the City for helping to ensure that our diverse, multi-lingual population is properly educated about the State’s new rent laws and tenant protections,” said Assembly Member Steven Cymbrowitz, Chair of the Assembly’s Housing Committee. “This legislation is the most significant rent reform we’ve seen in decades, and it reaffirms our commitment to ensuring that New York remains a welcoming place for everyone who wants to live here.”

"This year New York State passed landmark rent reform that puts tenants first and gives renters the full protection they deserve. I thank Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Mayor's Office to Protect Tenants for their effort to inform New Yorkers of their new rights and the resources available to them," said Senator Alessandra Biaggi.

Senator Brad Hoylman said, "More than 2.4 million New Yorkers who live in rent regulated apartments should benefit from the historic rent reform laws we passed in the New York State Legislature this year. This important initiative from City Hall will help tenants in New York City understand their rights and hold their landlords accountable. I'm extremely proud to be part of a Senate Majority that takes tenants’ rights seriously, and grateful to the Mayor's Office to Protect Tenants for their work to make these new protections accessible for all New Yorkers."

“I am very proud of the changes in housing law and tenant protections the legislature passed in Albany this year.  However, having rights and having them actually protected are often two different realities.  So I am delighted to see that NY City's government is committed to educating residents about the new laws, and the agencies and organizations that can provide assistance if they are not being followed,” said State Senator Krueger.

State Senator James Sanders Jr. said, “The first step in ensuring tenants’ rights was putting these important measures in place such as protections against rent increases and unlawful evictions, not we must do our part to educate the public about their rights and all of the resources available to them. I look forward to working with the Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants and the city’s Public Engagement Unit to spread the word.” 

"New York City faces a housing crisis that is seeing lifelong residents being pushed out of their homes.  The various loopholes in the law exacerbated this crisis.  Last State Legislative Session, my colleagues and I successfully closed many of these loopholes that will help keep many people in their homes.  We have more work to do with housing reform, but this past legislative session was a landmark one for housing reform, and helping to address the housing crisis," said Assembly Member Brian Barnwell.

"This year my colleagues in the State Legislature and I passed some of the most historic housing legislation, drastically increasing protections for tenants in the City and State-wide.  I applaud the new media campaign launched by the Mayor's Office to Protect Tenants that seeks to hundreds of thousands of New York City tenants on their new rights under the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019. In order for the State Legislature to continue moving forward on a progressive housing agenda that provides tenants with the greatest protections, we will need programs such as these.  This is just the beginning of crucial city-wide outreach that will reinforce the important work we are doing in Albany," said Assembly Member Catalina Cruz.

“At the beginning of this year I was honored to join Speaker Carl Heastie along with my legislative colleagues in passing the most historic tenant protection laws. I am thrilled to hear the City’s initiative to run a Tenant Protection Ad ensuring that every single New York resident will have access to learn everything they need to know regarding their housing rights,” said Assembly Member Carmen De La Rosa.

For too long, a significant number of my constituents were concerned about the stability of their homes as renters. I was proud to work on this new legislation this past year to expand rights and protections for tenants. I am grateful that the Mayor’s Office is helping to spread the word about these new regulations so that all renters become aware of the changes to the statute,” said Assembly Member Michael G. DenDekker.

"In the last legislative session, we fought hard to win the strongest tenant protections possible. Now we need to ensure that tenants know their rights and are empowered to take action if they believe their rights have been violated. Thank you to The Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants and The New York City Tenant Support Unit for dedicating resources to keep New Yorkers informed and protected,” said Assembly Member Harvey Epstein.

“The package of housing laws passed by the Legislature earlier this year gives New Yorkers the strongest tenant protections in history – but New York tenants need to know their rights in order to exercise them.  I applaud Mayor de Blasio and the Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants for conducting outreach and education efforts to let New Yorkers know their rights,” said Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried. 

“New Yorkers deserve to live in their homes without fear of being harassed or forced out. The new tenant protection laws will make sure that individuals and families can afford to stay in their homes and are safe-guarded from harassment by bad actors,” said Assembly Member Joseph R. Lentol.

"The passage of important rent protection laws  was in many ways the legislature's most important accomplishment in many years. It is so important that tenants get the information they need to know their rights.  My thanks to Mayor de Blasio and the office of tenant rights for this helpful information campaign,” said Assembly Member Catherine Nolan.

"This year's  landmark tenant legislation passed in Albany  was terrific news for our renters who have needed protection for many years. New Yorkers need to know about these new protections in straight forward ads that everyone can understand in several languages. Our tenants are now strongly protected and empowered. They need to know about the resources available to them. New York City's media campaign will help make this a reality,” said Assistant Speaker Felix W. Ortiz.

“This past session, New York State enacted major changes to our rent laws that strengthened protections for tenants,” said Assembly Member Dan Quart. “Preventing unlawful eviction and avoiding unnecessary fees starts with knowing your rights. New York City’s Tenant Protection campaign will equip tenants with the knowledge they need to challenge exploitative practices.”

"With state law now including the strongest tenant protections in New York's history, the City's outreach to tenants is vital to ensuring that all our families know the rights they are entitled to," said Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner. "I look forward to being a strong partner with the City, state agencies and community based organizations to expand access to quality affordable for families throughout our Bronx community."

"I applaud Mayor De Blasio's efforts to inform city residents of New York State laws that protect their rights as tenants. We in the Assembly want to work closely with the Division of Homes and Community Renewal (DHCR) and NYC enforcement agencies to ensure the application of these laws against unscrupulous landlords," said Assembly Member Tremaine S. Wright.

“Housing is a serious issue through all five boroughs, and it is acutely felt in my district. The remaking of New York’s rent laws marks a serious advancement in combating displacement, abuse, and harassment of tenants. The regulations reduce the opportunity for abuse by unscrupulous landlords, and reduce the burden of unaffordability that too many New Yorkers face,” said Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr., Chair of the Committee on Housing and Buildings.

“This year, tenants achieved a historic win with the State Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019. This act features various new protections for tenants across New York City from eliminating vacancy bonuses and MCI increases, to protections against unlawful evictions and much more. Given the breath and detail of these new laws, tenants need to be fully educated of their rights to prevent being victimized by unscrupulous landlords. With the public awareness campaign launched by the Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants, we are ensuring that all New Yorkers know their rights as well as the new tools they can use to guarantee affordable and quality housing in New York City,” said Council Member Vanessa Gibson.

“The new media campaign to educate New Yorkers about the Tenant Protection Act of 2019 will prevent so many families from facing unfair evictions,” said Council Member Adrienne Adams. “I applaud the administration for their efforts to alert residents about their rights. This is simply a matter of justice that will help vulnerable renters from losing the roof over their head.”

"The historic rent laws that passed in Albany are already impacting tenants and addressing key parts of the city's affordable housing crisis,” said Council Member Keith Powers. “The more that New Yorkers know about their rights, the more that they are able to benefit from these new laws. I thank the Mayor's office for bringing awareness to these new laws.”

“New York City tenants scored major victories this year with the passage of the State’s Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act and the newly established Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso. “The City’s newly launched tenant protection ad campaign will help ensure that tenants know their rights under the State’s new laws and the tools available to them in combating tenant harassment. I look forward to the impact of this campaign and will continue to support the fight for tenants’ rights in my district and citywide.”

“The statewide tenant movement delivered on sweeping reforms to our once broken rent laws system”, says Jose Lopez, Organizing Director of Make the Road New York. “Because of the hard work of tenant leaders, significant landlord friendly loopholes were closed, benefiting millions of New Yorkers and granting them the strong rental protections they deserve.”

“Tenants won a big victory in Albany this June, but many tenants don’t know what their rights are under the new laws.  We are grateful to the Mayor’s Office for launching this campaign to educate tenants on their rights,” said Judith Goldiner, Attorney in Charge, Civil Law Reform Unit, The Legal Aid Society.

“We applaud the city for this new public awareness campaign around these historic new rent laws. We’ve seen firsthand how landlords have tried to intimidate tenants from knowing about and using their newly won Right to Counsel and these new rent laws. We hope that this public awareness campaign is part of a much larger enforcement effort on the part of the city and state to make sure all of the hard won rights tenants have are upheld and protected,” said Susanna Blankley, Right to Counsel.

The Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants is a core part of the City's strategy to confront the affordable housing crisis. This newly established office will work across City agencies to make existing anti-harassment and anti-displacement programs better, and create new strategies to root out abuse. The office was created on January 10, 2019 when Mayor Bill de Blasio signed into law Executive Order No. 39, establishing an office to coordinate the City's range of tenant protection efforts. Our first Director, Jackie Bray, started in May 2019.

The Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit was created in 2015 to reimagine how government serves New Yorkers by proactively connecting community members to important public services and building lasting relationships. The Tenant Support Unit, one of several programs within PEU, proactively engages with and provides free assistance to New Yorkers who, for example, may be experiencing landlord harassment (i.e. lack of home or building maintenance) or are at risk of displacement.

pressoffice@cityhall.nyc.gov

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