photo credit: BK Reader

The comprehensive package, consisting of eleven bills to expand tenant protection, is a joint effort of the STS Coalition and the City Council’s Progressive Caucus

photo credit: BK Reader

On Wednesday, the City Council passed a comprehensive legislation package, the Stand For Tenant Safety (STS) legislation, aiming to provide greater tenant protection, especially in regards to the use of construction as harassment by landlords. The package, which consists of eleven bills, is the result of the joint effort of the STS Coalition, a citywide alliance of grassroots tenant organizations and legal service groups, and the City Council’s Progressive Caucus.

“I’m proud to sponsor this important piece of legislation which sends a message to unscrupulous landlords that the city is serious about protecting tenants and their rights,” said Councilmember Jumaane D. Williams. “The bills will go a long way in curbing these illegal practices and making sure those in violation of the city’s law will be penalized accordingly.”

Among the eleven bills that have passed are the following:

  • the Professional Certification bill, which requires the Department of Buildings (DOB) to perform full examinations of construction documents and final inspections in dwellings of more than 10% occupation or where the owner has harassed tenants,
  • the Vacate Orders bill, which requires the DOB to include the date by which an owner must certify the correction of any and all violations along with a written vacate order,
  • the ECB liens bill, which expands the Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s Third Party Transfer program to include buildings whose owners have incurred large amounts of unsatisfied building violations,
  • the Building Code Violations bill, which provides that building code violations adjudicated before the Environmental Control Board would constitute tax liens on the property,
  • the Tenant Protection Plan, which amends information required in the existing tenant protection plan (TPP) and prescribes measures to ensure compliance with it,
  • the Construction Bill of Rights, which aims to prevent the creation of hazardous construction conditions to push tenants out of their homes, and to help DOB to enforce already existing laws.

Other bills that were passed include the Permit Oversight bill, the Penalities for Work Without Permit bill, the Penalities Stop Work Order bill and the Construction Work Permits bill which will increase oversight and penalties for violations.

The citywide coalition’s assistance with crafting the legislation has been paramount,” said Councilmember Antonio Reynoso, “Today, the Department of Buildings will have a comprehensive package of reforms to work with for better enforcement. These bills strengthen and protect tenants’ rights to stay in their homes.”

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