Speaker Quinn, Council Member Gioia, and Council Honor Subway Hero Chad Lindsey
City Hall, Wednesday, March 11, 2009 – At today’s Stated Council meeting, the members of the New York City Council will vote on legislation to will extend New York City’s rent stabilization laws. In conjunction, the Council will vote on a resolution that officially recognizes that the city is in a housing emergency which requires rent control practices. The Council will also vote to provide real property tax abatements to the Electchester housing development in Queens.
In addition, Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and Council Member Eric Gioia will honor Chad Lindsey, the off-Broadway actor who saved a 60-year-old Bronx resident after falling onto the subway track at the 34th Street ACE Station.
“An extraordinarily humble and hard-working actor, Chad put his own safety on the line to rescue a complete stranger off the rails of the subway,” said Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “Thanks to Chad’s quick-thinking and selfless bravery, we have one less tragedy and one more classic New York City story about a New Yorker whose life was saved. The New York City Council is extremely honored and thankful to recognize Chad today.”
“Chad Lindsey showed the heart and guts that characterize New Yorkers,” said Council Member Eric Gioia, who represents Mr. Lindsey’s Woodside neighborhood. “One second he was on his way to an audition, and the next he was saving a stranger’s life in the subway – it took remarkable courage and he deserves our thanks.”
EXTENDING RENT STABILIZATION
Protecting availability of affordable housing in the five boroughs, the Council will vote to extend New York City’s rent stabilization laws. Specifically, this legislation would extend the Rent Stabilization Law from April 1, 2009 through March 31, 2012.
“The City’s Housing and Vacancy Survey proves that extending rent protections is more important than ever,” said Speaker Quinn. “Passing these laws today will help keep housing accessible to our city’s hard-working families. The City Council is committed to protecting our tenants and will take whatever steps necessary to keep those New Yorkers here who have contributed to the immeasurable success of the greatest city in the world.”
“Access to affordable housing is one of the most critical issues facing our City,” said Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, lead sponsor of both the bill and the resolution. “New Yorkers continue to get pushed out of their communities because of skyrocketing rents. The legislation we are passing today is another vital step in that direction and a giant step forward in ensuring that our City is affordable for all its residents.”
“Since the housing emergency in New York City continues to exist, I’m glad that the Council is taking steps that will help keep thousands of apartments rent-regulated for the people of this great city,” said Housing and Buildings Chair Erik Martin Dilan. “New Yorkers should not continue to be pushed out of their neighborhoods and communities simply because they can no longer afford to live there.”
“It is the teachers, the police officers, the fire fighters, the struggling artists, the aspiring students, the immigrants and the other hard-working, everyday people who are the real backbone of our city. If they can no longer afford to live here, our city will suffer immeasurably,” said Councilwoman Sara M. González. “New York can be a very expensive city but the key to getting-by here begins with good, clean, affordable housing in decent neighborhoods. With a proper rent, families can devote more resources to proper nutrition, better clothes, and other benefits for their children. As they thrive – so does our city.”
There are currently 1 million rent-regulated and 50,000 rent-controlled apartments in New York City.
RENT CONTROL EMERGENCY RESOLUTION
In conjunction with the rent stabilization bill, the Council will vote on a resolution declaring an emergency housing situation that requires rent control policies in New York City. Prior to April 1st of every third year since 1967, State law has required the Council to determine whether an emergency housing situation necessitates continued rent control regulations. The resolution would extend the regulation of units that are subject to the provisions of Rent Control to April 1, 2012.
Every three years, the Council is required by law to examine the housing supply in New York City to determine whether there is a continuing housing emergency that warrants the renewal of rent-regulation. Under state law, a vacancy rate of 5% or less permits the City to declare a housing emergency. Reports from the City’s Housing and Vacancy Survey show that there is a citywide vacancy rate of only 2.88%, down from 3.09% in 2005.
PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION RESOLUTION
The Council will vote to grant real property tax exemptions to a five building complex located in Queens known as Electchester whose tax exemptions have expired but the housing companies continue to remain in a affordable housing program. The property tax exemption will be effective in the next tax quarter and will terminate 50 years from the date upon which the original tax exemption for each building expired.
Currently, State law allows the Council to confer tax benefits to limited-dividend housing companies organized under Article IV of the Private Housing Finance Law. In addition, State law authorizes the Council to extend those real property tax benefits for a maximum period of fifty years so long as the developments remain in that affordable housing program. Such tax exemptions are intended to provide an incentive to owners to remain those programs.