Mayor Implements Predatory Equity Bill
Last year, the City Council voted unanimously on the “Predatory Equity Bill,” which creates a watch list of rent-regulated buildings where tenants are potentially vulnerable to investors who may want to kick them out. Mayor de Blasio recently signed the bill into law.
Under Intro 1210-A, sponsored by Council Member Ritchie Torres and former Council Member Dan Garodnick, HPD will publish a “Speculation Watch List” that identifies rent-regulated properties with sales prices that are unusually high in comparison to similar sales in the area. The city can then target those buildings with tenant legal support and closer monitoring to protect tenants.
The legislation requires that HPD publish the first list within 10 months. It will serve as a resource for tenants and tenant organizations, as well as an indicator for city and state agencies of possible tenant harassment patterns. The listings, which will be updated quarterly on the city’s OpenData portal, will be triggered when buildings sell at much higher than expected prices, an indicator that new landlords expect to drastically raise rents and potentially harass tenants. This new measure is the latest in a series of efforts to protect tenants from harassment and displacement and comes on the heels of Mayor de Blasio’s release of Housing New York 2.0, an accelerated and expanded plan to build or preserve 300,000 affordable homes by 2026. As part of the mayor’s Housing New York 2.0 plan, the city is aggressively fighting speculation and displacement through tools like the new Neighborhood Pillars, Mitchell-Lama Reinvestment, and Seniors First initiatives.
Alongside HPD’s work, the administration has significantly increased tenant protection services, including establishing the mayor’s Tenant Support Unit. The unit goes door-to-door in neighborhoods across the city informing tenants of their rights, documenting building conditions and violations, soliciting complaints related to harassment and eviction, and making referrals to free legal support and aggressive case management whenever necessary.