Leading Climate Advocates Celebrate Expansion of Climate Mobilization Act to Rent-Regulated Housing
Contact: Patrick Nevada, 646.866.9065, firstname.lastname@example.org
November 17, 2020
NEW YORK – With New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signing Intro 1947 into law, New Yorkers took a giant step closer to achieving our emissions reduction goals to address climate change. Passed by the New York City Council on October 29, this new law amends Local Law 97,, expanding the number of buildings that will have to comply with the emissions reductions rules while ensuring the equity and justice we fought to instill in the original legislation. Local Law 97, known as the Climate Mobilization Act, requires buildings in excess of 25,000 square feet to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050.
Local Law 97 originally excluded buildings with affordable housing units out of concern that landlords would use this as an excuse to raise their rents, passing on the cost of compliance – considered a major capital improvement (MCI) – and escalating gentrification in these communities. However, New York State recently passed rent laws that make it much more difficult for landlords to pass on MCIs to renters
Passing intro 1947 is a common sense amendment to LL 97 that enhances its impact of emissions reductions, equity, and job creation at a time when we need to rebuild our city. Said Maritza Silva-Farrell, Executive Director of ALIGN. ” With our city’s unemployment rate hovering around 15% and disproportionately impacting New York’s Black and brown communities, we need to be prioritizing policies tackling the crisis of today and build towards the vision we have for our future.”
“Intro 1947 will help safeguard affordable housing, protecting tenants from MCI rent increases attributed to Local Law 97 compliance,” explained Sonal Jessel, Policy and Advocacy Coordinator at WE ACT for Environmental Justice. “This new law will ensure that all communities can become climate resilient without the risk of accelerating gentrification.”
The new State rent laws tighten the rules that govern what spending qualifies for an MCI rent increase as well as strengthen the enforcement of these rules by requiring that 25 percent of MCIs be inspected and audited by the State Division of Housing and Community Renewal annually. They also cap the annual MCI rent increase at two percent statewide, down from the current six percent in New York City and 15 percent in other counties currently covered by the Emergency Tenant Protection Act of 1974. And they remove MCI rent increases and New York City Rent Guidelines Board rent increases based on an MCI after 30 years, instead of allowing them to remain in effect permanently.
Because of these new State laws, affordable housing tenants in New York City are now protected from landlords passing on the costs of all MCIs – including those necessary to comply with Local Law 97. And that is why ALIGN NY and other climate justice advocates urged the New York City Council to expand Local Law 97 with Intro 1947, which will require all buildings with 35 percent of affordable housing units or fewer to also comply with Local Law 97. The new legislation also extends the compliance deadline for these additional buildings by two years, to May 1, 2027.