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Gianaris, Barnwell Introduce Legislation to Stop Landlords From Hiking the Rent Through MCIs

State Sen. Mike Gianaris and Assemblymember Brian Barnwell in Columbus Circle on Friday (Photo: Mike Gianaris)

Feb. 25, 2019 By Christian Murray

Two state legislators held a press conference in Manhattan Friday to announce the introduction of a bill that would stop landlords from raising the rent when they make capital improvements to their apartment buildings.

State Sen. Mike Gianaris (D-Astoria) and Assemblymember Brian Barnwell (D-Maspeth) held a press conference to announce the introduction of a bill that would scrap the Major Capital Improvement (MCI) program—a program that allows the owners of rent stabilized and rent-controlled apartment buildings to hike the rent when major improvements are made.

The program permits landlords of rent stabilized buildings to increase the rent by up to 6 percent per year to cover the cost of upgrades such as installing new boilers, replacing windows or replacing a roof.

MCIs, which are permanent rent increases, provide landlords with the ability to raise the rent above the amount set by the city’s Rent Guidelines Board each year. Last year the board capped the maximum rent increase for a one-year lease to 1.5 percent.

“Too many tenants are priced out of their homes because of MCIs whose only improvement seems to be the landlord’s bottom line,” Gianaris said at the rally. “All New Yorkers deserve high-quality, affordable homes and our proposal brings us closer to that goal by ensuring repairs are made without burdening tenants with unreasonable costs.”

The bill would end MCIs and provide landlords with the ability to seek tax credits instead. Additionally, all MCI increases that have gone into effect in the past 7 years would be rolled back, resulting in a rent reduction for many New Yorkers.

The program has come under scrutiny in recent years. Many argue that the program has been exploited by landlords to hike the rent through unnecessary, high-cost improvements. Many tenants have had to leave their apartments, Gianaris said, unable to keep up with the rent hikes.

Gianaris, who has introduced the bill in the senate, argues that landlords shouldn’t be able to recoup these costs from tenants. He said the improvements are part of maintaining an asset, and they are reflected in increased property values.

Barnwell said that improvements should be part of the cost of running a rental business.

“It is unacceptable that we maintain a program pushing middle to low income New Yorkers out of their homes while allowing landlords to make monstrous profits,” Barnwell, who introduced the bill in the assembly, said in a statement. “Under our legislation, landlords will not be able to increase tenants’ rents due to repairs/improvements the landlord should already have made.”

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31 Comments

Mike

Reduce the assessed valuation on commercial re estate and with it the taxes in exchange have the landlords decrease the rent.

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Wat

“Not unlike”? So you…_do_ just parrot it because Fox News told you it was scary? Well at least you admit it!

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Horrified

Jumping on the bandwagon now? Trying to clear your name and deflect attention? Someone should investigate you for allowing the raping and pillaging of Astoria real estate all these years prior. Leaving many out on the streets thanks to your support from developers and landlords.

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YNGLIC

Say no to jobs. What we need is more fake “affordable housing”, hotels converted to homeless shelters and neighborhood jails.
Keep up the good work Skip!

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outraged

How dare Gianaris advocate for Queens residents! We should just let greedy landlords like Trump do whatever they want without regulation.

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Anonymous

Please don’t misrepresent that he’s advocating for Queens residents. He’s been in developers back pockets forever. He’s linked to the Hallets cove project, look at those affordable rents!! Not!! And he’s on record as being part of the Amazon solicitation committee until he flip flopped after seeing AOC beat Crawley. Giannaris is another useless government parasite.

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Hector

More like damage control over Amazon. The truth is where were these politicians when Astoria and LIC were being overdeveloped all these years during their watch? Many are currently displaced due to that and the gentrification that followed. Seems like overdevelopment is fine if done by some and not by others. Wonder which is the one that contributes to their campaigns.

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Pepe

The march towards Communism is continuing albeit at a slower place as to not arouse suspicion upon the masses… First stop on the train is Socialism and the last stop is Communism.

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Wat

Communism? Is Ginaris saying that all property should be publicly owned and each person should work and be paid according to their abilities and needs?

…or do you just have no idea what that means, and parrot it because Fox News told you it was scary?

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jose sanchez

it will be a great legislation this will help a lot of tenants like me and all the tenants in my building that has seen two major capital increase in one year hope that this will pass it will be a blessing at least giannarris is doing something for the state and city

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GRK AQ

Gianaris doesn’t know the meaning of a hard day’s work. He doesn’t understand the value of a good job in the private sector.
It wasn’t just the 25,000 jobs that Amazon going to do. It was probably going to be 100,000 jobs supporting it. From low skill to high skilled to consultants to lawyers to restaurants to barbers and construction workers.
Jobs that could have employed many young people straight out of school.
Jobs that could have fed a lot of families.
I am still in shock and disbelief.
Gianaris you disgust me!!!

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Jake

As a long time Astoria resident, I have yet to meet anyone who is happy about Amazon’s departure. Even the biggest skeptics wanted our politicians to at least negotiate better terms instead of chasing them away.
Just like any relationship, whether it’s business or personal, there will always be disagreements that need to be worked out.
Our local politicians, Gianaris and Bramer didn’t even want to take the calls when Amazon reached out to them.
25,000 jobs and $27 billion in tax revenue is something worth fighting for. Gianaris and Bramer need to be held accountable.

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Time for Change!

He definitely lost the majority of the Greek Americans in Astoria/LIC which is around 20,000. He also lost the support of small businesses and the leaders from Queensbridge, Ravenswood, Astoria and Woodside housing. Come next election, he is toast!

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Anonymous

Gian-asshole. So who’ll pay for upgrades to rental properties. You’ll get the resurgence of slumlords who barely keep buildings held together instead of all the improvements and investments that seem to be everywhere. I also want to introduce a bill that politicians should work for free because I feel it would be more progressive, and they should live half the year in public housing to better understand the community, and the other half in a middle class household that gets no tax breaks as NYC has been sold to the poverty pimps (Giannaris) and the scamming rich!

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a

Instead go check public records on how much property taxes these politicians pay (and their family)…. including this one. Hypocrites of the highest order!

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Jimmy

Giannarris is anti-landlord, always was. Now that he helped kill the amazon deal, he is going after building owners. Wake up Greek Americans and don’t support this fake and fraud!

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Butter weeda and 9 trey

Hey Gianaris does that apply to your real estate holdings? How much are u rent rolling bucks every month??

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ajoe

Maybe Gianaris’ parents shouldn’t be paying less than 3,000 in annual property taxes for their 3-family home in Astoria.

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N

This does not present the entire story. Giannarris cherry picking cases. Stop subsidizing developers with tax abatements. Bring on greater supply that lowers prices.

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Mike

I think it throws those taxes to the unsubsidized housing and leads them to raise their rents. 25 yr abatements? Why they have done nothing to lower rents.

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