Proposed Legislation Would Regulate Buyouts

State Sen. Julia Salazar recently introduced a bill in the New York State Senate to place new limitations on buyouts of rent-regulated apartments. The legislation, if approved, would go into effect July 1, 2020.

The bill proposes to amend the Emergency Tenant Protection Act of 1974 to establish specific rules for buyouts: Owners would have to make the offer in writing, include information regarding the nature of the proposal, and inform tenants of their rights to reject the proposal and consult an attorney. The bill would also give tenants, at minimum, 90 days to accept or reject the agreement.

Owners could face penalties if they don’t report the buyout to the DHCR within 90 days of the agreement. The bill also stipulates that owners could be penalized for harassing tenants, including providing false information, contacting tenants at their workplace without their authorization, or continuing to pester tenants within 180 days after they stated they’re not interested in the buyout. Salazar proposes penalties of up to $1,000 for buyout offers that qualify as harassment. The bill also requires the DHCR to submit annual reports to the state legislature with the number of buyout agreements and their details.