Council Member Joseph Borelli (R – South Shore) and Minority Leader Steve Matteo are asking Mayor de Blasio to consider the effects on Class 1 property owners of the proposed $93 million program (tenant right to counsel amendment) to assist tenants with legal representation in housing court.
The Council Members believe that the tenant right to counsel amendment will have an adverse impact on smaller, multi-family properties which often serve as a vehicle to home ownership for first-time buyers in an expensive market like New York City. Typically, the leased unit is needed to cover the cost of the mortgage payment, so a months-long absence of rent payments, as is the norm during housing court proceedings, they would be crushed under the weight of the mortgage while the city (and their own tax dollars) pays their tenants’ court costs.
Borelli and Matteo recommend that the proposal include a market-rate reimbursement for landlords whose tenants are being represented in court via the city resources provided as part of this initiative.
“This is a well-intended program that is inadvertently too broad in reach,” said Borelli. “The targets of this initiative are slum lords and large, corporate holding companies, and I look forward to working with Council Member Mark Levine and the Mayor’s office to ensure that smaller, multi-family homeowners like those that exist on the south shore of Staten Island are not unfairly impacted.”