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A Housing Deal with Shaky Foundations



Image courtesy of Mike Groll/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul


MARINE SAINT, HOST INTRO:


The New York State budget is being finalized. And a crucial part of Governor Hochul’s 200 million dollar deal is a new housing package. Which includes the good cause eviction notice, stirring controversy for both renters and landlords.

NYU Law Professor Vicki L Been tells us how this bill works and what this means for eviction notices.


VICKI L BEEN: 


Good cause in general says a landlord cannot evict or in some cases fail to renew a lease of a tenant except if the landlord can prove that one of the just reasons for doing that applies. The tenant isn't paying rent. The tenant is damaging the property. The tenant is creating a nuisance for their neighbors. 


MARINE SAINT: 


The current housing deal proposed has received a lot of backlash from housing advocacy groups. They say that it's only going to profit real estate developers, but also landlords are criticizing this proposed bill. Why is there so much backlash from both sides of the housing market?


BEEN: So the advocates are upset about, are we excluding people who should be included? There's been some discussion that the bill would cut off protections for people who are in apartments that rent for above some amount. And tenants in these small portfolios would not be covered.

On the landlord side, the landlords are concerned that it's difficult to get a tenant that's causing problems- it’s difficult to get them out and that has enormous implications for a landlord. It's very costly to have to go into a housing court and prove that somebody is doing damage or causing problems for their neighbors. So, landlords really fear that this will increase their costs very significantly.


SAINT: What are some of the risks involved in this legislation for the tenants, for those who may be discouraged from renting because of this proposed deal?


BEEN: There may be additional screening? If you're, especially if you're a small landlord, you're going to be much more concerned about, how do I make sure that nobody gets in there who could be a real problem?


A second thing is that it just may result in less rental housing. The bill that's being discussed would exclude new construction for about 30 years is what I hear. So you can invest in new construction without worrying about just cause.


SAINT: This proposed legislation may be, up for renewal or reconsideration in 10 years. And we're looking at a situation where it still has not been finalized. Will we see an agreement? 


BEEN: The governor, said we reached an agreement. She called it a conceptual agreement. but still, she's locked herself in, which basically means that she might have given away some negotiating leverage. 


SAINT: You've led many housing development offices, for the city. Could this legislation and this new state budget help New York address its housing crisis and improve rent stability?


BEEN: If it's passed, this will be the year that New York takes a major step towards addressing its housing crisis. There are still other things that need to be done. The city is trying to do some of those to its credit. It's doing a lot of changes in its zoning regulations that will help get more housing built. And I think those are critically important.


SAINT Vicki Been, thank you so much for your time today.


BEEN: My pleasure. Thank you for having me. 


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