Landlord Laws and Albany Politics - UPDATE

Landlords are under attack as lawmakers look for more tenant reforms

Dec 06, 2019

Here we are, property owners, in 21st-century America facing 18th-century, stereotypical ridicule as "slumlords" or "eviction-lords," depending on who you talk to. In June of 2019, the power to control what happens on our properties and in our New York State buildings dramatically shifted to the people who pay to live there. Tenant rallies in Albany were populated by New York City tenants and advocacy groups urging lawmakers to heed their specific pleas. So, in a sweeping effort to satisfy what may have been a few cases of injustice against a few tenants, the Governor signed the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act which radically changed the timeline and due process by which landlords and tenants interact with each other. Everything from collecting security deposits to move-out inspections, tenants gained the upper hand. Today, many law firms, judicial review boards and landlord groups still work to evaluate and explain these changes as weary landlords quickly attempt to implement changes to their rental policies that will protect them from the onslaught of tenants who may look to take advantage of every extension and "protection" now at their fingertips. The reality is that most landlords and most tenants are interested in good quality housing. We are not enemies.

The Finger Lakes Landlord Association created a document called Landlord Laws 2019 that outlines the major changes in the rental relations process. We sent representatives to regional meetings of landlords in an effort to understand these changes and to be prepared for more. We learned that while NYC rent control legislation from 1964 and earlier were the catalyst for statewide changes, we also learned that there may be even more changes coming. Between then and now, other vague laws have been passed against landlords, such as one that requires landlords to verify or obtain a certificate of occupancy before charging rents, which in some small towns is non-descript, while large cities or municipalities with rent registries are on a backlog for periodic inspections that precede this certificate. Other proposed law reforms are being discussed that would create a "good cause" stipulation for landlords with non-renewals and/or subsequent hold-over evictions. These laws have a will create an even more daunting judicial calendar with packed dockets and hallway deals to avoid judgment. Regardless, landlords need to stay vigilant.

Therefore, we are urging landlords to follow the efforts being lead by New York Capital Region Apartment Association and Boylan Code law firm attorney, Jaime Michelle Cane. They have created a campaign called "Under One Roof NY" that focuses on providing quality, affordable housing through a responsible rental community of tenants and property owners. The Finger Lakes Landlord Association will be joining the coalition with other landlord groups supporting these efforts. The next major event planned for landlords to voice their concerns to lawmakers will be in January (1/13/19) with a visit to Albany to talk to key legislators. In the meantime, there will be legislative roundtable discussions in the region and we will post these events as they become known. If you are a member of the association, stay tuned for more specific details. If you are not yet a member, please consider joining us so that you are not caught unaware. 

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