By Conor Gillis
GCAR Government Affairs
Albany Common Council Takes Initial Step Toward Rent Control
On Monday, December 16th, the Albany Common Council passed a resolution calling on Mayor Kathy Sheehan to conduct a vacancy study in the City of Albany to determine whether the city would qualify for rent control under the Emergency Tenant Protection Act. For Albany to qualify its vacancy rate would have to be 5% or below. Other municipalities across New York State have begun this process. The City of Kingston has conducted a vacancy study that cost $32,000 of taxpayer money, and the City of Rochester is in the process of conducting a study as well. NYSAR and GCAR are actively engaged with the Mayor’s Office and the Common Council and we will keep you updated as the process moves along.
Priorities for the 2020 Legislative Session
NYSAR will again be actively lobbying lawmakers in the state legislature in what promises to be a very busy legislative session. With the state facing a projected $6.1 billion budget deficit, difficult choices will have to be made this year.
Issues that NYSAR will be engaged on at the State level this year include:
- Independent Contractor Legislation – There is a proposal in the Legislature that would extend labor rights and protections to gig economy workers, such as Uber and Lyft drivers, and eliminate independent contractor status for various professions. NYSAR strongly believes that any legislation should provide an exemption for real estate licensees. NYSAR also attended a Senate public hearing in October on this topic and will continue working with state lawmakers to have our concerns addressed and seek the exclusion of real estate licensees from any legislative proposals.
- Changes to Landlord/Tenant Law – In December, NYSAR held a meeting with representatives from every local association to discuss issues regarding landlord/tenant law, which was part of the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act. NYSAR will work with the legislature where we can to make changes to that law which will hopefully provide more clarity for landlords.
- Opposition to Good Cause Eviction Legislation – One piece of the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act that did not pass in 2019 was good cause eviction legislation. The bill would establish an onerous and restrictive “good cause” eviction standard in tenant-landlord relationships and impose de facto rent control on housing accommodations across New York State with few categorical exceptions. NYSAR is strongly opposed to this piece of legislation and will actively work to stop it.
There will be additional issues that NYSAR will get engaged in as the legislative session moves throughout the year.
State Senator George Amedore to Retire
State Senator and local REALTOR® George Amedore has announced that he will not seek re-election in 2020. Senator Amedore was elected to the Senate in 2015 and prior to that he served in the State Assembly for seven years. So far there are two Democrats who have announced their respective candidacies for the 46th Senate District, Michelle Hinchey and Gary Greenberg. As of December, no Republican has announced.
Real Estate Wins in Government Spending Bills
On Tuesday, December 17th the House passed a federal spending package for fiscal year 2020 that includes several high-priority items for REALTORS®: reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program through Sept. 30; an extension of several tax provisions important to real estate markets, such as mortgage debt forgiveness; and a seven-year reauthorization of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program, a particularly significant victory for commercial real estate practitioners.