The Council will also vote to expand housing discrimination rules
City Hall – The New York City Council will vote today to strengthen the historic Green New Deal for New York City (2019 Climate Mobilization Act) to ensure that New York continues to be a leader in the global fight against climate change. Today’s bill will require large buildings where less than 35 percent of units are rent regulated to comply with greenhouse gas emission limits set in Local Law 97 of 2019. The move is estimated to cut climate pollution by about 40% by 2030 and over 80% by 2050.
Initially, owners of these buildings were given an alternate path of compliance due to New York State’s outdated rent laws which allowed landlords to pass the cost of building upgrades to tenants by charging for major capital improvements. The state’s passage of the Housing Stability and Tenant Protections Act of 2019 changed the way that major capital improvements can be imposed, only allowing major capital improvement rent increases for rent stabilized units if they make up 35% or more of the units in a building.
To increase awareness and encourage compliance with Local Law 97, the Council will also vote to mandate reporting on steps the Department of Buildings has taken to provide building owners with information about the law and programs that are available to assist with compliance, including sources of funding and incentive programs.
At a time when stable housing remains a critical need for many New Yorkers, discrimination based on lawful source of income, such as government vouchers, remains a barrier to securing housing opportunities. The Council will vote to repeal an existing exception that allows for owners of five or few units to turn away potential tenants because of their source of income.
Many families are unaware or have limited knowledge of their rights with respect to source-of-income discrimination. The Council will vote to require the city Department of Social Services to provide written notice to Family Eviction Prevention Supplement (FHEPS) applicants with information about source-of-income discrimination. Due to reports of limited access to receiving status updates on FHEPS applications, the Council will also vote on legislation to require the city to provide potential tenants with online access to the status of their application.
The Council will also vote to approve the appointment of Kenseth Armstead as painter member, and Deborah Marton as a lay member, of the New York City Art Commission, known as the Public Design Commission.
Requires buildings with less than 35% of rent regulated units to abide with emission limits
Introduction No. 1947-A, sponsored by Council Member Costa Constantinides, would amend the definition of “rent regulated accommodations” for purposes of compliance with Local Law 97 of 2019.
Under this law, buildings in which rent regulated units make up less than 35% of the total units would be required to comply with Local Law 97’s greenhouse gas emissions limits. This would avoid major capital improvement rent increases for rent stabilized tenants and maximize greenhouse gas emission reductions.
The mandate for buildings in which rent regulated units make up 35% or more of the total units would not be changed – those buildings are still required to complete a series of low-cost prescriptive measure to increase energy efficiency.
This bill would also provide a two-year extension to newly covered buildings to comply with the first building emissions limits.
This law would take effect immediately.
Requires reporting on the city’s outreach and education efforts of greenhouse gas emissions reduction methods
Introduction No. 2072-A, sponsored by Council Member Costa Constantinides, would require the City of New York to submit a report to the Mayor and the City Council detailing their outreach and education efforts to provide information about compliance with the greenhouse gas emissions limits pursuant to Local Law 97 of 2019.
The City would be required to report on its outreach efforts about incentive program opportunities and other sources of funding available to buildings.
This bill would also require building owners to report on the methods that they used to comply with the greenhouse gas emissions limits, which the city would report to the Council and mayor.
This law would take effect immediately.
“The New York City Council continues its promise to strengthen the Climate Mobilization Act,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection. “Our accomplishments today will help New Yorkers get back to work in good jobs that make our air cleaner, kick-start the renewable energy revolution, and chart a course to a brighter, greener, safer future. I want to thank Speaker Corey Johnson, my Council colleagues, and the amazing advocates, especially the late Cecil Corbin-Mark, for making this possible.”
Prohibits the discrimination in housing accommodations based on lawful sources of income
Introduction No. 2082-A, sponsored by Council Member Keith Powers, would align the City’s Human Rights Law with recently enacted state law source-of-income discrimination provisions. Currently, prohibitions against discrimination in housing accommodations based on lawful source of income do not apply to housing accommodations comprised of five or fewer units. This bill would repeal this exception. It would also expand the definition of “lawful source of income” to include all other types of lawful income that low-income New Yorkers may have access to, such as child support, alimony, and any other types of housing assistance.
This law would take effect 90 days after it becomes law.
“New Yorkers should not be denied permanent housing based on their form of payment. Unfortunately, people often run into issues with landlords that discriminate based on their source of income. My legislation expands protections against this type of discrimination to buildings with three or more units; and brings the city more in line with state protections. Thank you to my colleagues for their support in helping more New Yorkers secure housing,” said Council Member Keith Powers.
Requires communication about lawful source of income discrimination to applicants
Introduction No. 1339-A, sponsored by Council Member Diana Ayala, would require the New York City Department of Social Services (DSS) to provide written notice to CityFHEPS rental assistance program applicants with information about source-of-income discrimination at the time an applicant receives a shopping letter from DSS. The notice would provide information about protections under the New York City Human Rights Law related to discrimination on the basis of a person’s lawful source of income.
The bill would take 180 days after it becomes law.
“I have seen firsthand the difficulty voucher recipients have in trying to secure housing. Some spend years, and it is unfortunate that income discrimination becomes an obstacle to securing a place to live. Denying someone housing based on the method of income is outright wrong,” said Council Member Diana Ayala “Which is why I sponsored Intro. 1339. This Local Law will now require the Department of Social Services to provide written notice to those potentially eligible for city rental assistance programs and inform them of their rights and resources available related to the source of income discrimination. Voucher recipients will know their rights and will be equipped with the necessary information needed to secure housing.”
Requires the city to provide online access to rental assistance program application status
Introduction No. 2080-A, sponsored by Council Member Stephen Levin, would require the Department of Social Services (DSS) to provide applicants to their rental assistance CityFHEPS with online status updates. A contract to make online access available would be required by June 30, 2021.
The bill would take effect immediately.