The city’s Predatory Equity Bill creates a ‘Speculation Watch List’ to track rent-regulated properties bought by potentially predatory investors to offer tenant support to prevent displacement
On Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the Predatory Equity Bill, which aims to curb speculation and displacement in fast-changing neighborhoods, has become law. Under the new legislation, the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development will publish a “Speculation Watch List” that identifies recently sold, rent-regulated buildings where tenants are at risk of displacement due to potentially predatory investors.
“Protecting New York tenants and affordable housing is a top priority. This legislation means we will, for the first time, shine a bright light on rampant speculation and greedy landlords who buy residential buildings with the goal of pushing New Yorkers out of their homes,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This bill can stop tenant harassment in its tracks.”
The new “Speculation Watch List” will serve as a resource for tenants and tenant organizations, as well as an indicator for city and state agencies of possible tenant harassment patterns. City agencies will be triggered when buildings sell at much higher than expected prices, an indicator that new landlords expect to drastically raise rents and potentially harass tenants. The city then monitors and targets those buildings with legal support to protect the tenants.
This new measure is the latest in a series of efforts to protect tenants from harassment and displacement that includes initiatives such as the Tenant Support Unit which goes door-to-door across the city informing tenants of their rights, documenting building conditions and violations, soliciting complaints related to harassment and eviction, and making referrals to free legal support and aggressive case management.
“Stabilizing NYC is a coalition that combines legal, advocacy and organizing resources into a citywide network to help tenants take their predatory equity landlords to task for patchwork repairs, bogus eviction cases, and affirmative harassment,” said Stabilizing NYC coordinator of Community Development Project of the Urban Justice Center Jackie Del Valle. “This is a critical step in addressing the predatory equity driven speculation that causes tenant harassment and displacement, which our coalition witnesses in neighborhood after neighborhood, building by building.”
HPD will publish the first list within 10 months and is expected to update it quarterly on the city’s OpenData portal.