LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS: May Legislative Update

Philip Weiden | May 11, 2021

Philip Weiden

At the federal level Realtors have won a huge victory. The CDC moratorium on evictions, which has caused people to avoid paying rent, has been struck down. The decision does not affect the moratorium in New York State. This will still go through the appeals process, but for now it is the beginning of a string of victories.

The moratorium was ruled unconstitutional since it was not done legislatively, and because the CDC has no role in regulating housing. Since we are no longer under emergency rule, the moratorium is not necessary. We have no mass lockdowns currently. Additionally, $50 billion in aid was passed to help landlords and keep tenants in their homes. In New York, distribution of the aid will be administered by the state.

At the state level we had our first virtual Realtor lobby day. It was a tremendous success. Our top priority was to stop a bill with the misnomer “Good Cause Eviction.” This would make it nearly impossible to evict a tenant for non-payment of rent or for most other violations. It would also take away the landlord’s right to set the terms of the lease. Realtors also pressed their Senators and Assembly members for landlords to be able to apply for relief directly instead of through a tenant who does not intend to apply for it or does not know how to apply for it. We also urged our legislators to not pass an independent contractor’s status bill that could take away a licensee’s classification status and make them employees. This would have devastating effects for our industry. We also signaled our support and urged the Assembly to pass the Senate fair housing package. This will help root out discrimination in real estate transactions.

Finally, on a local level we have moved ever closer to passing co-op transparency legislation in the Westchester County Board of Legislators. This would require co-op boards to provide a reason in writing stating why they are denying a potential applicant. Make sure you respond to the call for action that was sent out again this month. A public hearing for the co-op bill has been scheduled for May 24th at 7:30 p.m. and can be viewed online. Stay tuned for updates on these issues.

Philip Weiden
Legislative Affairs columnist Philip Weiden is the Government Affairs Director for the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors.