NEW YORK, NY – NYC Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr. (D-36), Chair of the Council’s Committee on Housing and Buildings, released the following statement in response to the agreement on State rent laws in Albany:

“The remaking of New York’s rent laws marks a major advancement in combating displacement, abuse, and harassment of tenants. Housing advocates, community leaders, and residents of neighborhoods across the State, we all made clear the deep flaws in the existing rent regulations. The opportunities for abuse by unscrupulous landlords were many. And countless tenants who were victims of those abuses ended up seeking our help – speaking with us at our offices, at town halls, and at resource fairs.

They shared their stories with us about the realities they faced. They shared their stories with us about the intimidation tactics of landlords using preferential rent as a weapon, retaliating against tenants for exercising their rights. They shared their stories with us about the burden of the perpetual MCI and phantom MCI charges that were not backed up by real work. They shared their stories with us about spending 30% to more than half of their income on housing – the definition of rent burdened and severely rent burdened. A burden of unaffordability too many New Yorkers face.

That is why our Council passed 17 bills to prevent displacement last month. And that is why we lifted our voices together to act against abuses. Countless organizers, activists, advocates, and Council colleagues – both present and past – worked for the reforms we will see become a reality. Thanks to Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, New York State Assembly Speaker Heastie, Governor Cuomo, and thanks to all the legislators and leaders in Albany who heard us and took action. This marks an important victory for upholding tenants’ rights, for granting millions of New Yorkers greater peace of mind, and for the future of our communities. Even as we celebrate, we must continue to work to make these reforms an on-the-ground reality for all the communities we serve.”