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Cynthia Nixon Announces ‘Rent Justice For All’ Platform To Protect NY Tenants

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Democratic gubernatorial challenger Cynthia Nixon unveiled a key piece of her proposed housing policy in her bid to unseat Governor Andrew Cuomo later this year. According to Curbed, Nixon announced her call for rent regulation reform to protect renters across New York state.

“Half of our state residents are renters, and under Governor Cuomo, New York’s renters have been left behind,” said Nixon in a statement.

“Across the state, low and moderate income tenants are paying more than 50% of their income on rent. I will make protecting tenants—and not corporate landlords—my priority.”

Nixon announced her plans to pass a series of measures, called Rent Justice for All, protecting renters in the state in the Bronx earlier this month. The measures would have a direct impact on many New Yorkers, especially New York City which boasts more than 2 million rental units.

New York’s rental crisis is no secret. New York tenants have seen legal rent hikes as high as $1,000. And between 2007 and 2014 up to 25% of rent-stabilized apartments on the Upper West Side of Manhattan became deregulated.

Michael Greenberg of the New York Review of Books outlines the way tenant horror stories move around the city. “One of the tactics [property] owners employ [to remove tenants] is to hold rent checks without cashing them and then sue tenants for nonpayment,” Greenberg said.

Some tenants have had to wait to have issues in their rentals fixed such as plumbing, which can be temporarily fixed using screw hose clamps in an emergency situation.

Nixon’s proposals include eliminating the practice of charging preferential rent, which is when the property owners don’t pass annual increases on rent that are granted by the Rent Guidelines Board and then adds them to a lease later at one time.

Nixon also proposes to eliminate the 20% rent hike bonus landlords are guaranteed when a unit is vacated. Rent stabilization would also be expanded to properties with six or more units. Statewide funding would be provided to an agency to preserve rental affordability.

Francisca Lopez, a New York City resident, says tenants in her building have been exposed to lead, harassed, and forced to use a bucket for a restroom. “We have been fighting for years,” she told City Limits, “and still might lose because of these weak rent laws.”