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Hawkins Calls for Freeze in NYC rents
(NYC) Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Governor, called today for the NYC rent control board to vote in favor of a rent freeze for rent stabilized apartments.
Hawkins, campaigning today in NYC, also said that Mayor de Blasio should show leadership in agreeing to freeze the rent on his own properties.
"We need to make housing affordable for all New Yorkers, not just the rich, the landlords and the gentrifiers. In addition to a rent freeze, we need all levels of government to take action to ensure affordable housing, including expanding rent subsidies and building and improving public housing. Families should not have to pay more than 30% of their income for housing," said Hawkins.
An recent report by the NYC Comptroller found that between 2000 and 2012, median apartment rents rose by 75 percent, compared to 44 percent for the rest of the US. During the same time real average incomes for New York residents decreased.
A significant factor in the rise in NYC rents have been private equity investors (hedge funds) which buy up large numbers of rental units to maximize their rate of return. Hawkins said as Governor he would seek to clamp down on such predatory equity.
Brian Jones, the Green's Lieutenant Governor candidate, said that city and state affordable housing programs need to target lower-income households.
Hawkins noted that many of the economic problems in the US can be traced to the 1980s when Ronald Reagan and Congress slashed funding for public and affordable housing programs.
Rent regulation changes supported by the Green Party include:
Rent Regulated Housing
- Make the state's rent control laws permanent and extended to every municipality with less than a 5% vacancy rate.
- Eliminate Vacancy Decontrol, which leaves new tenants of vacant housing without any rent or eviction protections.
- Strengthen rent protections for Market Rate Tenants, including prevention of sudden rent increases.
- Provide rent stabilization coverage for all Mitchell-Lama and project-based Section 8 buildings that leave or have left government supervision.
- Establish a rent cap for persons living with HIV or AIDS, so that they pay no more than 30 percent of their disability income towards rent.
- Assist small landlords to upgrade their property with below-market value loans and technical assistance.