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Know Your Rights
Source: Make the Road New York
Subject: Housing & Environmental Justice
Type: Event

Tenants Cheer New Transparency and Accountability for Landlords

MRNY members call for new law to protect tenants from negligent landlords who hide behind a corporate entity and register their official address as a post office box.

For years, New York City tenants have been unable to determine who actually owns the buildings where they and their families live. Current laws allow negligent landlords to evade their legal responsibilities to their tenants by hiding behind a corporate entity and registering their official address as a post office box. This lack of transparency has made it nearly impossible for tenants, organizers and advocates to confront dangerous housing code violations.

On August 25, the New York City Council unanimously passed legislation spearheaded by Make the Road New York that will end impunity for lawless landlords and help tens of thousands of tenants to stand up for themselves and their families!

MRNY member Maria Najera speaks about the need for landlord transparency at a press conference at City Hall with Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito.
Make the Road New York member Maria Najera has experienced this problem firsthand. She and her family have lived in a rent stabilized apartment for four years. Recently, when a new landlord bought their building and started doing major construction work, the family’s only notification was a letter telling them to send their rent check to a new address. The construction has left the building with gaping holes in the floor, and dust covering the halls, but Maria has been unable to find out who owns the property. Without this information she has not been able to get needed repairs to ensure that her building, and her apartment, are safe for her family and neighbors.

Make the Road New York has won legislation that will solve problems like Maria’s by requiring landlords in New York City to register the names of individual owners with the City, and to make this information available to tenants.

As always, your support makes our work possible and helps improve the lives of tenants throughout New York City. Thank you.

Make the Road New York would also like to thank Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Michael Grinthal from South Brooklyn Legal Services, and our close allies at the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development (ANHD) for their vital work to pass this important legislation.

Photos by William Alatriste