NY law for tenant protections, slumlord crackdown getting pushback

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Across the state, lawmakers have heard horror stories about unsafe housing, and unscrupulous actions by some landlords.

That’s one reason for a new law called the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act. Gov. Andrew Cuomo says it’s designed to crackdown on property owners who seek profits off substandard housing, but some landlords in Rochester are pushing back.

“We’re trying to show that we are responsible landlords, and our tenants as well are being hurt by this,” says Harold Bain who owns multiple properties across Rochester.

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He and others are concerned about overregulation, and say the new law may wind up hurting them and tenants, instead of helping them.

“This is a failure on a local policy level in not enforcing the laws that already exist,” says Matt Drouin, who owns over 20 properties across the city.

A new statewide coalition called Under One Roof is calling on Albany to dial back some of the overregulation.

“The mainstream landlords in Rochester are made up of responsible business owners,” says Jaime Cain, an attorney affiliated with the organization.

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Among the many new provisions of the law:

— Landlords cannot reject tenants because they had been in a court case with a prior landlord. The courts cannot sell eviction court data. Records of evictions that were the result of a foreclosure are sealed.

— Landlords cannot evict or otherwise penalize tenants who complain about conditions.

— Landlords cannot charge late fees until rent is five days late, and the late fee cannot be more than $50 or 5% of the monthly rent, whichever is less.

“The overregulation that’s coming from Albany towards these small business landlords is concerning to us,” says Cain.

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