As the legislature in Albany and the New York City Council are in full swing, legislation of every type is being proposed, debated, and considered. As one might expect, the budget is front and center in these recessionary times, but housing-related bills—both those specifically targeting condos and co-ops and those dealing with multifamily housing—are also a hot topic, as always. Keeping up with pending legislation and court cases can be a lot of work, but it’s incumbent upon boards and managing agents to stay abreast of changes in the law in order to administer their building communities.
Up in Albany
In the state Assembly, bills dealing with housing usually go through the Housing Committee, but often go through others, such as the Ways and Means, Judiciary and Government Operations committees.
Large numbers of housing-related bills are introduced in Albany every year. Melissa Mansfield, spokeswoman for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, provided us with a list of 18 current bills dealing with housing cooperatives. They range from Assembly Bill A03553, which would require co-op boards to act on applications from prospective buyers within 45 days, to A00871, which would create a separate part in Housing Court to deal with condos and co-ops; to A01211, a version of the controversial “written rejection bill” that would require co-op boards to give applicants reasons in writing for why their application is rejected; to A08636, which would provide an income tax deduction for “monies deposited into a house, townhouse, condominium or unit in a cooperative housing corporation account.”
One bill, A05252, relating to provisions dealing with the conversion of rental buildings to condos or co-ops, seems somewhat pre-recession in its thinking; nowadays, it’s often the other way around. Also, some bills deal mainly with specific locations, such as the city of Yonkers, or specific classes of people, such as seniors.
Among the key players in the Assembly as far as housing is concerned, by the way, are, of course, Speaker Silver and Housing Chair Vito Lopez. In addition to these two, Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal chairs the subcommittee on Mitchell-Lama, and Assemblyman Marc Alessi has been active on bills to protect mobile home park tenants. Assemblymen Keith Wright and Jonathan Bing previously chaired the subcommittee on Mitchell-Lama.