Catharine Young has been re-elected to a sixth term. As usual, she ran unopposed, but gladly accepted over $250,000 in campaign contributions anyway (over $26,000 of which was from the real estate industry alone).
The Urstadt Law, which was passed by Albany lawmakers in 1971, took away New York City’s right to implement its own housing laws. Although NYC’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio, has called for a repeal of the Urstadt Law, Senator Catharine Young has so far refused to allow this to happen.
It’s easy to see why. If the lawmakers of New York City were allowed to make the laws of New York City, then the landlords would have no use for Catharine Young. This would mean that all of the money she gets from NYC landlords (which greatly exceeds her actual salary from the state) would disappear.
So it should come as no surprise that every time a senator (such as Liz Krueger, who actually represents part of NYC) tries to introduce a “home rule” bill to let the city control its own housing laws, Catharine Young and her friends in Albany simply kill it.
Despite the fact that she’s bankrolled by NYC landlords, Catharine Young actually has the nerve to pretend that she wants to bring down rents in New York City. In an official statement to Crain’s newspaper, Young wrote:
“The best way to bring down rents is to expand the number of housing units. It is a basic supply and demand issue… Changing the Urstadt Law would prove to be a disaster for the future of New York City’s housing market.”
Watch Young kill S1492 in this video from a Housing committee meeting last year (3:15):
At yesterday’s meeting of the senate housing committee, Catharine Young introduced S5084, a bill that would provide automatic yearly rent increases for tenants living in Mitchell-Lama housing in New York City. Furthermore, the bill would increase the surcharges paid by residents who are above the income threshold. Finally, the bill would increase the income limits for Mitchell-Lama tenants.
This is exactly what low-to-moderate income families don’t need — more competition from other, higher-income families applying for the same very limited supply of housing (where very long waiting lists are already the norm), while simultaneously making these apartments less affordable over time through yearly RGB increases. But this is an amazing deal for companies that own and operate these housing units, because they would get automatic rent increases without even asking for them, plus they would get extra surcharges to boot!
Senator Adriano Espaillat cast the single negative vote (3:13 in the video).
It’s a blast from the past! In the current legislative session, Senator Catharine Young has reintroduced 6 of her (failed) sponsored bills from 2011, all of which favor landlords and hurt rent regulated tenants. These bills have been given new numbers as follows:
S7732-2011, which would allow landlords to automatically renew (at the landlord’s option) a lease for any holdover tenant who remained in their apartment after the end of their existing lease (even if the tenant had a valid reason for refusing to sign the renewal lease), is now S4032-2013.
S5041A-2011, which would allow a landlord to commence eviction proceedings against a tenant who fails to file a tax return or votes in the wrong place, and would also allow a landlord to challenge a tenant’s primary residency whenever they want, is now S3671-2013.
S6472-2011, which would allow a landlord to increase the stabilized rent on an apartment by 20% in the event that the residing tenant vacates or dies, and his/her family wishes to continue the lease, and would also limit succession rights to one generation, is now S3672-2013.
S6515-2011, which would take away a rent regulated tenant’s right to a two-year lease, and would raise the vacancy increase on one-year leases to 20% (which is the current rate for a two-year lease), is now S3673A-2013.
Yesterday, Senator Catharine Young introduced Senate bill S2045, which would allow owners of rent regulated apartments in certain counties to serve on the Rent Guidelines Board. In other words, Catharine Young wants the RGB, whose primary job is to determine a fair rent increase every year (preventing the landlords from jacking up regulated rents past an unreasonable percentage), to be directly controlled by the landlords themselves!
This bill would only affect Nassau, Rockland, and Westchester counties (suburbs of New York City), all of which are over 300 miles outside of Young’s own district.