New York City Comptroller Proposes Tenants Bill of Rights

2 min read

The city’s chief financial officer wants to require landlords to give renters a document spelling out their rights.

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer. Image courtesy of Scott Stringer’s office

After a roller coaster two weeks that saw New York State legislators stun the rental apartment industry by declaring an end to renter-paid broker’s fees, a lawsuit by industry groups and a judge’s order to halt the ban, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer proposed a Tenants Bill of Rights for renters in the city.

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The document, which Stringer’s office shared on their website and social media channels, clearly spells out existing rights of renters in New York City in an easy-to-read format. Stringer said he wanted to make it a requirement for landlords to present renters with the document at every lease signing.

“A Tenant Bill of Rights would enshrine key principles and protect tenants from abuse and neglect,” Stringer said in the announcement. “It’s time. Let’s give New Yorkers the knowledge they need to keep a safe and stable roof over their head.”

Last month, Stringer also proposed Universal Affordable Housing, a regulation that would require all new development in New York City with 10 or more units to have 25 percent of the units designated as permanently low-income affordable housing.

Representatives from New York’s largest real estate association the Real Estate Board of New York and the Rent Stabilization Association, which represents 25,000 owners and agents of rent stabilized buildings, did not respond to requests for comment on Stringer’s proposition.

Housing Issues Across the Country

The bill of rights proposition is the latest renter-focused development over the year, which has seen new laws in California, New York, Oregon, and even presidential candidates pledging to enact federal policies relating to affordable housing, rent control and expanded rights for renters.

It comes at a time when rental markets across the country are extremely tight and rents are rising faster than incomes. According to a report recently released by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, there are 43 million renter households in the U.S., one in four of which are rent-burdened.

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