Cynthia Nixon, the “Sex and the City” actress-turned-Democratic gubernatorial candidate, has unveiled a Rent Justice for All platform that would bolster protection for tenants statewide. Curbed reports that Nixon, who is running against Governor Andrew Cuomo as a Democratic candidate, announced Rent Justice for All, a series of measures intended to address the growing burden placed on New York’s renters, of which there are many: Nixon said in a statement, “Half of our state residents are renters, and under Governor Cuomo, New York’s renters have been left behind.”
New York City’s concentration of renters is, of course, considerably higher than the non-urban average; there are over two million rental units in the city; around a million of those are rent-stabilized. So it follows that any policy that affects rent regulation will have a big impact here.
As befits a candidate who announced her campaign before a mostly African-American audience at a church in Brownsville, one of Brooklyn’s poorest neighborhoods, Nixon puts the spotlight on the city’s low- and middle-income residents who spend more than 50 percent of their income on rent. She has also challenged Cuomo’s acceptance of campaign contributions from big developers: “I will make protecting tenants—and not corporate landlords—my priority.”
Proposals in Nixon’s rental justice program include eliminating the practice of charging preferential rent, and the 20 percent rent hike bonus landlords are entitled to when a unit is vacated. She would also expand rent stabilization to buildings with six units or more statewide and increase funding to a state agency that works to preserve affordability–an issue she has said Cuomo doesn’t address nearly enough.
Nixon’s rental justice platform joins the candidate’s progressive proposals on climate change, marijuana laws and the ability of all new yorkers to get driver’s licenses regardless of immigration status, all of which have earned her the suppport of groups like Make the Road Action and New York Communities for Change, whose executive director, Jonathan Westin, called Nixon’s housing strategy “the strongest tenant protection program in the country.”
Less excited about the new candidate are real estate lobbyists and attorneys, the Rent Stabilization Association and the Real Estate Board of New York–the latter is one of the governor’s biggest backers–with sentiments that lie closer to that of New York Republican strategist William F. Buckley O’Reilly, who recently lamented to The Real Deal that “Nixon would be a nightmare scenario for the real estate world.”
The topic is especially appropriate after Thursday’s ruling by the city’s Rent Guidelines Board that will allow rent hikes on renewed rent stabilized leases–though a final decision on how much those hikes will be is still pending.
- Nearly 900 Section 8 residents in NYC spend more than 80 percent of income on rent
- Cuomo declares state of emergency for NYCHA, creates independent monitor to oversee authority
- With Ben Carson’s confirmation as HUD Secretary, NYCHA plans next steps
- Why middle-income New Yorkers are turning down affordable housing