Bay Ridge Renters Betrayed by Their State Senator

The look on his face really gives away the fact that State Senator Marty Golden knows this picture will end up in some damn kid's blog, and he already doesn't like it. (Photo by Hey Ridge)
The look on his face really gives away the fact that State Senator Marty Golden knows this picture will one day end up in some damn kid’s blog, and he already doesn’t like it. (Photo by Hey Ridge)

State Senator Marty Golden has sided with rich landlords on rent regulation against the mass of his constituents, voting to extend for eight more years current rent stablization, rent control and tax-abatement laws for landlords—in spite of the current legislation’s lack of protections for renters. Rent regulations for New York and Yonkers expired Monday night after the Democratic-controlled Assembly refused to accept the extension, holding out for reform legislation with greater tenant protections.

The biggest sticking point is vacancy decontrol. Current legislation allows landlords to remove apartments from the rent stablization system any time they become vacant, or when the rent exceeds $2,500. Tenant groups and Public Advocate Letitia James have noted numerous egregious cases of landlords harassing tenants in order to drive them out of rent-stablizied apartments so they can jack up the rent. Proposed legislation would end vacancy decontrol and raise the limit to $2,700 before units are priced out of the system.

In a closely-related issue, 421-a tax abatements were extended in the Republican legislation, continuing give-backs to developers who agree to set aside 20 percent of new units for affordable housing. The Democratic caucus and Mayor de Blasio are holding out to raise the number of affordable units to 25 or 30 percent. Senator Golden notoriously signed legislation that allowed a 421-a tax abatement for the super-luxury building at One 57th Street and four other sites in Manhattan. The narrowly targeted tax break Golden supported resulted in a savings of $272,000 to the owner of the penthouse unit at One57 alone.

Mayor DiBlasio, Governor Cuomo and virtually all State Senate and Assembly Democrats contend that the current rent-regulation system exacerbates economic inequality in the city, which according to the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey is already the worst in the nation.

Senator Golden’s district is estimated to contain 36,000 rent-stabilized units, all of whose residents are in danger of losing their apartments thanks to Senator Golden’s intransigence. Where would all these residents go to live? I don’t know. Maybe the Senator has a plan. Why not call him and ask? You can reach his local office, 7408 Fifth Avenue, at (718) 238-6044, or his Albany office at (518) 455-2730.

This post has been updated to distinguish between different types of rent regulation. Find out the difference between rent control and rent stabilization here.

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6 comments on “Bay Ridge Renters Betrayed by Their State Senator

  1. Apartments are either rent stabilized or rent controlled, which one is this article about?

    1. And if they expire for good, where are all the people, mostly elderly, expected to go when they can’t find affordable housing because the landlords jacked the rent up so high?

      1. It is not the government’s job to take private property from its citizens without compensation. Marty is elected as a Republican in a Republican District. He should be proud.

        1. They aren’t “taking property”. Government is regulating a commercial business, the same as it does with banks, restaurants or any other entity selling goods or services to the public.

  2. Rent stabilization protects tenants by requiring a renewal lease at a reasonable price, the resulting possibility of complaining about cuts to facilities and services without fear of losing one’s home, and the right of family members living there to take over the lease in their own names under the same protections when the main tenant leaves. (Rent control has some of these same protections, but there’s no actual lease, the annual increase so far is ridiculous: 7.5% a year PLUS a fuel pass-along.) Rent regulation (both control and stabilization) also means that seniors (some day all of us) and the disabled (no one expects this) to limit rents to 1/3 of their incomes. ALL tenants need those protections.

    Strengthening the rent laws (which Sen. Golden opposes) means repealing “vacancy decontrol” (or “deregulation”) that motivates landlords to oust regulated tenants – permanently reducing the city’s supply of affordable housing – and capping “improvement” increases that continue forever – well past the time the landlords are compensated for their expenses.

    Meanwhile, landlords shouldn’t be suffering since above and beyond the regular Rent Guidelines Board increases, owners can get “hardship” increases if they’re willing to open their books to the state and show they’re not getting roughly 8% return on their investment. (That’s no more of an imposition than tenants deal with if they file complaints that they’ve been overcharged.)

    So it’s time for Sen. Golden to truly represent his district’s

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