August 2023

Weekly Report for August 25, 2023

NYSAR IMF Committee approves funding of study in support of first-time homebuyer legislation
This week, NYSAR’s Issues Mobilization Committee approved an application to provide funding for an economic impact study and fiscal analysis of NYSAR-supported legislation to create a NYS first-time homebuyer savings account program. The proposed bill (S.6574/A.6933) would allow NY residents to deposit annually up to $10,000 in a dedicated savings account for the sole purpose of purchasing a first home in the state, and take a state income tax deduction on those deposits. Independent fiscal analysis is a critical step to gain support from state lawmakers and budget negotiators.

REALTORS® meet with NYC Council Member Schulman on broker fees legislation
On Tuesday, REALTORS® from the Long Island Board of REALTORS®, along with NYSAR and LIBOR government affairs staff, met with NYC Council Member Lynn Schulman of Queens to discuss legislation (Int. 1105) which would prohibit the collection of broker fees from a tenant to pay a landlord’s agent. Also attending the meeting were other real estate-related stakeholders supporting NYSAR’s opposition to the NYC bill. Council Member Schulman was very receptive and NYSAR will look to continue a productive dialogue.

Governor Hochul says state will not force upstate to shelter asylum-seekers
On Thursday, Governor Hochul said she will not force other parts of the state to shelter asylum-seekers or move migrants against their will. Instead, the governor called on President Biden to take executive action and direct additional federal resources to the state as it manages the unprecedented influx of asylum seekers arriving in New York. New York City Mayor Eric Adams has been urging the governor to force counties across the state to receive migrants and to identify sites outside New York City where they can seek shelter. Read more here

Weekly Report for August 18, 2023

New York redistricting case to be heard by Court of Appeals in November
New York’s Court of Appeals is set to hear a case in mid-November challenging the State’s 26 congressional districts drawn last year. The outcome of the case brought by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee could lead to a redrawing of the congressional districts prior to the 2024 elections. New York is expected to play a major role in determining who controls the U.S. House of Representatives after 2024, where Republicans currently have a majority by a margin of 222-212, with one vacant seat. Last year, Republicans in New York picked up 4 seats previously held by Democrats, to help secure a majority in the House of Representatives. Read more here.

 Assembly Speaker says special session unlikely
On Tuesday, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie stated he does not anticipate that another special session will take place to address gambling or cannabis laws. Assembly lawmakers returned for a 2-day special session in June but did not approve an agreement between the State and the Seneca Nation of Indians for a new gambling compact, which was approved by the State Senate. Additionally, the opening of new cannabis stores is currently on hold, after the State Supreme Court issued a temporary injunction preventing the Office of Cannabis Management from issuing new licenses until at least August 25th. The Assembly Speaker does not expect either issue will require a special session this year. Read more here.

 New NYC law could result in fines for commercial landlords renting space to illegal smoke shops
A new law in New York City allows government agencies to fine commercial landlords for knowingly leasing space to unlicensed smoke shops. Local Law 107 allows NYC’s law enforcement agencies to notify a commercial landlord in writing if their tenant is operating an illegal smoke shop. The landlord would be given the opportunity to evict the tenant prior to the issuance of a civil penalty. Should the landlord fail to commence an eviction proceeding, NYC authorities are authorized to levy civil penalties of $5,000 for the first violation and $10,000 for subsequent violations of the law. The law took effect on July 23rd after passage by the New York City Council a month earlier. Read here for more information.

Weekly Report for August 11, 2023

NYSAR’s NYC Issues Working Group Meets in Lower Manhattan
On Thursday, NYSAR’s NYC Issues Working Group held an in-person lunch meeting at The Beekman in lower Manhattan. The Parkside Group provided an update on New York City’s 2023 elections, including a recap of the primary elections and a general election preview, as well as analysis of key legislation before the New York City Council, including cooperative transparency (Int. 1002) and legislation requiring broker’s fees in rental transactions to be paid by the party who hires the broker (Int. 1105). NYSAR staff updated the working group on various state level real estate issues, including Governor Hochul’s executive actions on housing. The NYC Issues Working Group will meet again virtually at the NYSAR Fall Business Meetings on September 18th at 1pm.

Governor Hochul announces emergency grant assistance for certain homeowners impacted by storms – Applications open August 11
On Wednesday, Governor Hochul announced up to $3 million in emergency repair grants (up to $50,000 per applicant) will be made available beginning August 11 to primary residence homeowners with incomes at or below 80 percent of the area median income in eight counties impacted by flooding and recent storm damage, including Clinton, Essex, Hamilton, Ontario, Dutchess, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester. Eligible work may include repair or replacement of electrical and plumbing systems, heating systems and appliances, flooring, drywall, insulation, windows, doors, siding, and roofing. A full list of qualified repairs and eligibility criteria are available on the HCR flood program website.

Former State Sen. Jim Gaughran announces run for Congress
Former State Sen. Jim Gaughran announced this week that he will run for the Democratic line for 1stCongressional District challenging first-term incumbent Republican Rep. Nick LaLota to represent the eastern region of Suffolk County. Gaughran, who served in the State Senate for two terms, is now the fourth former or current State Senator to announce a run for Congress, joining State Sens. John Mannion and Kevin Thomas, and former State Senator Anna Kaplan. Read more here.

Judge dismisses Airbnb registration lawsuit against NYC
On Tuesday, a State Supreme Court judge dismissed a pair of lawsuits brought by Airbnb against New York City over a new registration law for short-term rentals, known as Local Law 18. The judge argued the city is within its right to require registration of short-term rentals. Local Law 18 requires short-term rental hosts in NYC apartment buildings to register their units with the city and affirm that their units comply with all city housing and building codes. The law also enables landlords to put their buildings on a “Prohibited Buildings List,” affirming they have explicitly forbidden short-term rentals in their rental leases. Airbnb hasn’t yet decided whether it will appeal the judge’s ruling. Read more here.

Weekly Report for August 4, 2023

Assembly Speaker Heastie says Gov. Hochul’s housing plan needs refocusing
This week while touring Columbia County, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie discussed Governor Hohcul’s housing plan, which was rejected by the legislature earlier this year. Speaker Heastie said there remains a need for a statewide housing plan, but there should be discussions of union wages and project labor agreements in order for a plan to advance in 2024. He also stressed the importance of affordable homeownership in addition to rentals. Read more here.

Federal funding for nuclear power to produce energy savings for New Yorkers
Funding from the federal Inflation Reduction Act will boost nuclear power in New York and help lower the utility bills of millions living in the state, Gov. Kathy Hochul said this week. Funding from the federal nuclear production tax credit, part of President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), will go to nuclear reactors in the state, while helping to “support New York’s nuclear power plants to deliver zero emissions electricity for New Yorkers,” Hochul said in a statement. As a result of the funding, New Yorkers could receive hundreds of millions of dollars in cost savings, as early as 2025. Read more here.

White House announces updates for housing supply and multifamily housing
The White House released two announcements last week, outlining actions to boost the housing supply, and offering guidance for multifamily properties. These announcements are follow-up items to the President’s Housing Supply Action Plan and Blueprint for a Tenant’s Bill of Rights, respectively. NAR supports efforts to increase the affordable housing supply and will continue to work with the White House and Congress to protect small housing providers. Read more here.