2. Implement anti-harassment provisions
Preserving and Creating Affordable Housing > Recommendations

Too often, when new residential development is allowed, existing tenants suffer. In too many cases, building owners harass and seek to evict them in order to increase prices or directly displace residents in order to build new, denser housing that can deliver market-rate rents. Such activities have already taken place nearby, as witnessed in the extensive case study by the Fifth Avenue Committee of 150-158 4th Avenue, where 5 buildings containing 40 units of rent-stabilized housing were eliminated to make way for a luxury development.1)Fifth Avenue Committee, Getting a Fair Exchange, 14.

New York City zoning has previously included provisions to protect tenants from harassment and displacement, such as in the 1974 Clinton Special District (and much less strongly in the more recent Greenpoint-Williamsburg and Hudson Yards rezonings). These protections should be included in any rezoning that allows residential development in the Gowanus area.

Anti-harassment provisions require that when an owner seeks to demolish or change the use of a property within such districts they must first receive a “Certificate of No Harassment” from HPD (the City’s Housing Preservation and Development agency). HPD conducts an investigation consisting of tenant interviews and works with local community groups. If HPD concludes that tenants in the subject building have been harassed, the landlord is typically given the option of “curing” the act by setting aside 28% of residential floor area in the proposed development, at 60% AMI (Area Median Income), for affordable housing or the same for offsite within the special district (in addition to any additional affordable housing requirements for new development). These provisions act as deterrent to harassment and protect the most vulnerable tenants.

 

 

References   [ + ]

1. Fifth Avenue Committee, Getting a Fair Exchange, 14.