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Know Your Rights
Source: Crain's New York Business
Subject: Housing & Environmental Justice
Type: Media Coverage

Council Votes to Unmask Phantom Landlords Legislation will Require Residential Landlords to Register the Names of Individuals with at Least 25% Ownership Stakes and Specify a Brick-and-Mortar Office Location.

The City Council unanimously passed legislation** Wednesday afternoon to crack down on phantom landlords across the city.

The law requires all landlords of residential buildings to register the names of individuals with at least 25% ownership in the corporation and they’ll have to register an actual brick-and-mortar office location with the city. It is designed to prevent landlords from hiding behind unknown corporate entities and is seen as a win for tenants and city housing advocates. The new law will also make it easier for tenants to contact their landlords directly and improve the city’s Housing Maintenance Code enforcement.

“Thanks to this legislation, tenants will have access to the names and contact information of the principal partners of these corporate entities that are increasingly the owners of our city’s residential buildings," said Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito, in a statement. "Additionally, these corporations will no longer be able to provide the city with the address of a mail handling facility instead of a real brick-and-mortar address where the true owners of the building can be reached."

The law is good news for predatory equity-owned buildings which have fallen into disrepair. Tenants in those buildings "have struggled to get negligent landlords to make necessary repairs and provide essential services. [This law] will help ensure tens of thousands of households no longer have to live in sub-standard conditions," said David Hanzel, the deputy director of the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, in a statement.

**Spearheaded by Make the Road New York (MRNY).