Opinion: NYCRAA Memo in Opposition to S8125A Rent Suspension

by Under One Roof NY

With New York serving as the epicenter of the Coronavirus outbreak, millions of New Yorkers from our government leaders to our business owners are facing tough decisions.  While the Federal Government discusses relief and stimulus to help Americans who are impacted, and members of the community discuss ways to help local businesses and their employees make it through this hardship, one local business industry is not only being forgotten in that conversation- they are openly being attacked.  That local business being landlords and their respective companies.

We are a coalition of responsible landlords statewide who operate small businesses, provide quality housing to other hard working New Yorkers and serve as economic drivers in their local communities. We’re invested in improving the apartment industry for all.

While daily, and often hourly reports continue to roll in of historic levels of unemployment across the country and in New York State, the proposed rent suspension legislation bill would only serve to compound the problem.  Landlords and their respective companies employ people across various skilled trades and through their economic spending. These landlords are just like every other business in these tough times; struggling to make ends meet, struggling to meet their payroll needs and financial obligations, and struggling to provide for their families just like everyone else. While the consequent mortgage relief for residential landlords provided in the amended version of this bill is appreciated, it is important to understand that there are tax, maintenance, and payroll obligations in place. To that end, neither the State nor the Federal Government has offered assistance to these residential landlords. This bill would not just punish landlords, it will decimate the “little guy,” the landlord equivalent of mom and pop shops who live in our community, who pay local taxes, and who are fighting for their livelihood just like everyone else in our community.

It is critically important to understand that mortgage relief is one small part of the relief needed to make landlords whole.  While renters may need relief in meeting their rent obligations, the property owners still need cash flow, such as a voucher program, to continue to ensure their bills can be paid and money continues to flow through the economy, thus avoiding placing thousands of jobs in jeopardy as a result of this break in the economic chain.  

New York Capital Region Apartment Association and Under One Roof NY strongly oppose this legislation and urge legislators to carefully consider the negative chain reaction this legislation will cause in our economy and the rent replacement vouchers these small businesses need to survive this Coronavirus outbreak.

About the Author

The UNDER ONE ROOF NY (underoneroofny.org) Coalition was formed by NYCRAA (New York Capital Region Apartment Association  www.NYCRAA.com) , and consists of a diverse group of individual landlords and small business owners who have joined forces across New York State to protect the rights of landlords and tenants, and advance regional and statewide economic housing development.  Deborah Pusatere, the President of NYCRAA and Co-Coalition Leader of Under One Roof NY, has been a small business property owner in the capital region for 23 years.