Local politicians, experts answer questions on rent laws

Delsenia Glover, Ellen Davidson and State Senator Brad Hoylman answered questions about the rent laws. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

More than 200 tenants attended a housing forum hosted by State Senator Liz Krueger’s office on September 10 to learn more about the impacts of the rent laws that were passed in June, addressing the repeal of vacancy decontrol, preferential rents and new rules for major capital improvements.

The forum, held at CUNY’s Graduate Center on Fifth Avenue, was also attended by State Senator Brad Hoylman, State Senator Brian Kavanagh, the former Assemblymember for District 74 and currently the Chairman of Committee on Housing, Construction and Community Development for the Senate, housing advocate Delsenia Glover of Tenants and Neighbors, NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas and Legal Aid attorney Ellen Davidson.

The local elected officials, experts and advocates at the forum discussed some of the major takeaways from the new rent laws that were passed, specifically regarding how they would affect rent-regulated tenants, and answered questions about housing-related issues.

Visnauskas said that the strengthened rent laws are helping to preserve affordable housing throughout the state by removing loopholes that landlords could exploit to increase rents and push apartments out of rent stabilization.

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Civil Court judge candidate Grace Park wants you to know that there is a primary

Grace Park has been an attorney with the Legal Aid Society for 14 years.

By Sabina Mollot

Midtown resident Grace Park, an attorney for the past 20 years and a mother of two teen boys, is on the ballot for a position that doesn’t pop up too often — Civil Court judge.

And considering that most people don’t know that judges even need to be elected, and considering that this is a quiet election year, Park knows it’s going to be tough to get voters out to a June 25 Democratic primary.

She’s just begun the process of getting the word out about the race, in which she is running against Lynne Fischman Uniman, another experienced attorney.

There is no Republican candidate for this position, which is to represent the 4th District, an area that covers Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village, Gramercy, Kips Bay, Murray Hill and Midtown East.

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Teen who allegedly tried to rape Stuy Town woman hit with attempted murder charge

Stuyvesant Town (photo by Sabina Mollot)

Stuyvesant Town (photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

A 17-year-old arrested for the attempted rape of a woman in her building in Stuyvesant Town has also been charged with attempted murder.

The alleged attacker, Aaron Kish, was arraigned on Monday night, after police said he admitted he wanted to snap the 22-year-old victim’s neck as she struggled to get away.

According to the criminal complaint, Kish followed the woman as she entered her building vestibule early Sunday morning and grabbed her from behind. She was then pushed against a wall and forced to the floor, police said, before Kish got her in a chokehold and pulled her dress and underwear off.

The victim tried repeatedly to scream for help, while Kish allegedly groped her and told her, “Let me finish I’ll let you go” and also warned her if she fought him, “it will only get worse.” The victim fought back anyway, and managed to elbow and punch Kish, he later told police, according to the complaint. At that point, a neighbor came up to the vestibule and saw the woman naked and Kish with his pants down and said he was calling police. Kish then ran off with some scratches while the victim was left with a bloody lip, pain in her neck and abrasions on her back.

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Tenants fight landlord lawsuit to undo rent freeze

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Tenants defend the rent freeze. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

A group of tenants from around the city are hoping to intervene in a lawsuit that was filed in July aimed at stopping the rent freeze authorized a month earlier by the Rent Guidelines Board.

That lawsuit was filed by the Rent Stabilization Association, an organization that represents around 25,000 landlords in New York City.

On Tuesday morning, the tenant group announced its intention to fight the litigation at a rally held at Foley Square, near the courthouses. The group, dubbed the Rent Justice Coalition, includes tenant and civic groups from around the city with legal representation by Legal Aid Society, Goddard Riverside and the Urban Justice Center.

Event organizer Larry Wood of Goddard Riverside told the crowd of tenants and activists, “The RSA says the Rent Guidelines Board used criteria they shouldn’t have. The RSA claims tenant affordability shouldn’t have been considered. It’s outrageous to say they’re not supposed to think about tenant hardship.”

The suit had argued that the issue of affordability shouldn’t be handled by the RGB, but by government-sponsored rent relief subsidies.

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