LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS: HGAR Members Should ‘Get on the Bus’ To Attend This Year’s Lobby Day in Albany
Alexander Roithmayr | March 13, 2023
It is an absolute pleasure to be writing this column. Not only is this the first time a Government Affairs Director has provided a column in many months, but also, this is my first opportunity to introduce myself to the HGAR membership. On top of that, we are weeks away from Lobby Day!
My name is Alex Roithmayr, and I am the new Government Affairs Director for HGAR. I am a long-time resident of Westchester County and grew up in the City of White Plains. I have a background in the New York State Legislature, spending most of the 2010s working as a Chief of Staff for a local Assemblymember. Following a run for elective office, I joined the Building and Realty Institute of the Hudson Valley as the Strategic Research Associate and Campaign Lead for Welcome Home Westchester, a pro-housing issue campaign that is still driving the conversation around housing today.
Recently, the HGAR Legislative Committee held a meeting where we outlined several legislative goals for this year.
HGAR is in Opposition to:
• (S.305-Salazar) HGAR opposes the imposition of a statewide “good cause” eviction standard, which would implement impractical and overly restrictive standards and stifle investment in rental housing.
• (S.2783-Brisport) HGAR opposes the prohibition of landlords and landlords’ agents from collecting broker fees from a tenant.
• (S.2352-Kavanagh) HGAR opposes the requirement on real estate brokers and salespersons to request, compile and disclose personal demographic data on prospective home purchasers, including full name, race, ethnicity and gender, among other information.
• (S.2505-Kavanagh) The New York State Association of Realtors opposes the creation of a statewide residential rental registry and public online searchable database that would require owners of residential rental dwellings, housing two or more families living independently of each other, to register their property annually for a fee to be determined by the Department of State.
• (S.221-Myrie) HGAR opposes the establishment of the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act, which would provide tenant organizations the first opportunity to purchase rental properties prior to being put on the market, impose price stabilization provisions on the property for up to 99 years, cap annual rent increases and prohibit the eviction of any TOPA buyer except for “good cause.”
• (S.2353-Kavanagh) HGAR opposes the requirement of property owners to conduct lead paint tests and provide reports of such tests prior to the selling or leasing of a property.
• HGAR opposes regulatory efforts by the Department of State to impose any new cease and desist zone on real estate licensees.
Measures to Expand Access to Homeownership
• HGAR supports enacting a first-time homebuyer savings account program to assist New Yorkers in saving for a first home within the state (bill introduction pending).
• HGAR supports expanding affordable and workforce housing development through the implementation of new zoning and tax incentives and easing restrictions on the conversion of existing commercial spaces into residential housing.
• HGAR supports directing funding in the New York State Budget to expand broadband access throughout the state, particularly in rural regions.
Combating Discrimination in Cooperative Housing
• (A.1778-Lavine) (A.2685-Walker) HGAR supports ensuring fairness and transparency in the cooperative housing purchase process by establishing a clear timeline for the response to applicants by co-op boards and requiring a reason for any denial of an application in order to help combat illegal discrimination.
• (S.412-Thomas) HGAR supports a technical amendment to a law passed in 2019 placing restrictions on legitimate telemarketing business services provided by licensed professionals, stipulating the ability to provide telemarketing services during states of emergency.
Note: There are many other issues still being flushed out at press time that will be addressed prior to Lobby Day.
HGAR Lobby Day
Tuesday, May 2nd is NYSAR’s Lobby Day in Albany. This is where HGAR, and other boards/associations across the state, get to take their agendas and make their voices heard. In order to do this, I need you to show up! This is a free and fun trip to Albany where you get the opportunity to meet with your State Representatives and make clear to them the issues that are important to our members and our industry.
So, if you feel that state government is focusing on the wrong issues week-after-week, then I need you to get on the bus.
If you feel that your state representative is wildly misinformed and hurting your bottom line, get on the bus!
If you have an opinion on broker’s fees or rents for life, or not being able to make calls during endless states of emergencies, then come to Albany and stand with your fellow Realtors! I need you to advocate, educate and activate our elected leaders to work for us and not against us. I need you to get on the bus!
We have two busses to take you to and from Albany. One bus will leave at 5:50 a.m. from outside the HGAR offices at 110 Bloomingdale Rd., White Plains, and will stop at the DeCicco’s Market in Brewster at 6:30 a.m., before arriving in Albany. The other bus will depart at 5:50 a.m. from the former HGAR office in Nyack, located at 2 Medical Park Drive, and will stop at 6:30 a.m. at the rear of the Newburgh Mall, before continuing to Albany. Both busses will depart Albany after lunch to return home.
One of the pleasures of my position is to make you feel heard and make you feel empowered. I am so excited to have joined the HGAR team in this capacity. Again, I want to encourage you to get involved and join us on May 2nd. Additional information and details for Lobby Day can be found at https://www.hgar.com/event/lobby-day-in-albany-20230502 or you can contact me directly at Alexander.Roithmayr@HGAR.com.