June 2021

Weekly Report for June 25, 2021

Gov. Cuomo ends State of Emergency; cold calling ban lifted

On Wednesday, Governor Cuomo announced that the current State of Emergency will not be renewed. As a result, cold calling and telemarketing will be allowed as of Thursday, June 24, 2021. NYSAR has been strongly urging the governor and state lawmakers to lift the ban on cold calling during states of emergency. CDC guidelines such as mask requirements for unvaccinated individuals remain in effect. You can read more about these guidelines and what it means for real estate licensees in New York by visiting NYSAR’s FAQ page, here.

Primary Election results

New York City primary elections were held this past Tuesday, June 22 to elect a new Mayor, City Comptroller, Borough Presidents and City Councilmembers. The City also utilized Ranked Choice Voting for the first time, where voters are asked to prioritize up to 5 candidates. If no candidate receives 50% of the vote, the candidate in last place is eliminated and the votes they received are allocated to those voters’ second place choices. That process repeats itself until a candidate receives a majority of votes. In the race for Mayor, Democratic candidate Eric Admas currently holds the lead, however it will likely be weeks until a winner is declared. Democratic candidate Brad Lander currently holds the lead for City Comptroller. Click here for a full summary of all the NYC races provided by The Parkside Group. Unofficial primary results can also be found here.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown appears to have been defeated in the Democratic primary election by India Walton, a community activist supported by the Working Families Party and the Democratic Socialists of America. The eventual Democratic nominee will be unopposed on the ballot, although former Republican gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino says he is considering running as a write-in.

In Rochester, City Councilman Malik Evans defeated incumbent Mayor Lovely Warren, who is currently under indictment, in the Democratic primary. In addition, two candidates endorsed by the local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America won races for the City Council.

In Syracuse, the Democratic primary for Mayor is currently separated by 46 votes between candidates Khalid Bey and Michael Greene with absentee ballots yet to be counted. The winner of the democratic primary will face off against independent incumbent Ben Walsh and Republican candidate Janey Burman in the general election.

NYC Rent Guidelines Board approves partial rent freeze on rent-regulated units

The New York City Rent Guidelines Board on Wednesday approved a partial rent freeze on the city’s nearly 1 million rent-regulated apartments, citing the ongoing economic hardship caused by the pandemic. The board voted 5-4 in favor of a measure to freeze rents on all one-year leases for the first six months of leases signed starting Oct. 1, while allowing a 1.5 percent rent hike for the remaining six months. Rents on two-year leases would be permitted to increase by 2.5 percent. The new rent increase will take effect on Oct. 1, 2021 and run through Sept. 30 of 2022. Read more here.

Weekly Report for June 18, 2021

Take Action Now: State’s cold call ban still in effect despite pandemic restrictions being lifted

Tell Governor Cuomo and state lawmakers to remove the ongoing cold call restrictions on licensed real estate professionals during a State of Emergency. Although the Governor recently announced the removal of pandemic-related restrictions on businesses, REALTORS® are still being shut out of conducting cold calls due to the ongoing State of Emergency still in effect. This is impeding business and we need to urge Governor Cuomo and state lawmakers to put an end to the cold call ban now. Encourage your members and colleagues to Take Action here. You can also call the Governor’s office directly at 518-474-8390 to voice your concerns.

NYSAR submits comment to DHR on new reasonable accommodation requirements

On June 12, NYSAR issued comment to the state Division of Human Rights regarding the proposed state regulation requiring landlords, managing agents and real estate licensees to provide a Reasonable Modification and Accommodation Notice to all prospective and current tenants of a “housing accommodation.” NYSAR raised practical concerns regarding how this notice would be provided in print-form advertisements, such as billboards, classified ads, periodicals, etc., and the delivery requirement of such notice. You can read NYSAR’s full comment here.

NYC Primary Election Day this Tuesday, June 22

Early voting for the New York City primary elections is underway with election day being Tuesday, June 22. New York City voters will use a new ranked-choice voting system for the first time, ranking up to five candidates on the ballot. On the ballot are races for New York City Mayor, City Comptroller, all City Council seats, all five borough president seats, and Manhattan district attorney. You can read candidate bios and learn more about the mayoral and comptroller candidates here.

President Biden looks to address racial inequities in home appraisals

President Joe Biden will create a task force led by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to study racial inequities in home appraisals and recommend possible solutions. One major concern is that a push from Washington to boost appraisal values for certain homes could lead to appraisers assessing homes at higher values than they are worth. The group is slated to begin work next month and report its recommendations within 180 days. Read more here.

Judge rules state cannot require providers to offer $15/month broadband service

A federal judge ruled last week that the state cannot require internet providers to offer broadband internet service for low-income customers for $15-a-month. The low-income broadband consumers law passed in the state budget in April, and was supposed to go into effect this week. Read more here.

Weekly Report for June 11, 2021

State Lawmakers conclude this year’s legislative session

The State Legislature concluded this year’s legislative session in the early hours of Friday morning after a marathon of bill passages. Lawmakers have not ruled out returning to Albany to take up new business later in the year, however. Notable bills to our industry approved by both houses during the final days of session, which await Governor Cuomo’s consideration, include:

  • S.538-B/A.4638-A: Adds 2 hours of implicit bias education for real estate licensees within the 22.5 hours of CE requirements. (NYSAR supported)
  • S.2132-B/A.5359: Increases pre-licensing broker and salesperson course hour requirements and requires instructors’ compliance in course education under oath. (NYSAR supported)
  • A.844-A/S.979-A: Adds 2 hours of cultural competency education for real estate licensees within the 22.5 hours of CE requirements. (NYSAR supported)
  • A.5363/S2133-A: Adds an additional $30 surcharge to the license fee for real estate brokers and an additional $10 surcharge to the license fee for real estate salespersons to be used for statewide fair housing testing efforts. (NYSAR supported)
  • A.6355/S.2157-A: Requires two years’ experience as an associate broker before designation as an office manager. (NYSAR supported)
  • A.4587-A/S.6877: Excludes certain seasonal use tenancies from the 2019 Tenant Protection Act provisions regulating deposits and advances. (NYSAR supported)
  • A.6593-B/S.5257-C: Creates the Housing our Neighbors with Dignity Act, allowing the state to finance the purchase and conversion of distressed hotels and vacant commercial space into permanent affordable housing.
  • A.3807-A/S.2193-A: Establishes an affordable housing 5-year capital plan for NYS Homes and Community Renewal. (NYSAR supported)
  • A.399-B/S.1780-C: Allows for notarization to be done electronically with the use of video conference technology. (NYSAR supported)
  • A.2633/S.6492: Authorizes towns in the Peconic Bay region to establish community housing funds to be funded by a supplemental real estate transfer tax, while reducing the overall real estate transfer tax on properties under $1 million and increasing the purchase price limit for exemption for first time home buyers. (NYSAR supported)
  • A.5761/S.1811: Authorizes the town of Blooming Grove to establish a community preservation fund and establishes a real estate transfer tax with revenues therefrom to be deposited in such fund, pending public referendum. (NYSAR opposed)

NYSAR opposed the following bills which were not approved by the State Legislature:

  • A.6608/S.2142-A: Would have required property owners to conduct lead paint tests and provide the reports of such test in certain real estate transactions.
  • A.7850/S.5116-C: Would have expanded DEC authority over the delineation of freshwater wetland boundaries.
  • A.6967/S.4264-A: Would have enacted the Climate and Community Investment Act to impose new taxes and fess on carbon based emissions resulting in higher costs for consumers.
  • A.5585/S.1810: Would have authorized the town of Chester in Orange County to establish a community preservation fund and real estate transfer tax.
  • A.5373/No same as: Would have authorized the town of Orangetown in Orange County to establish a community preservation fund and real estate transfer tax.
  • A.6539-B/S.5144-B: Would have prohibited enforcement of personal liability provisions against individuals in the event of default on a commercial lease due to Covid-related hardships.
  • A.6059-A/S.5061: Would have authorized the county of Otsego to impose an additional mortgage recording tax of 25 cents per $100 of principal debt.
  • A.6953-A/S.6167: Would have authorized the county of Cortland to impose an additional local real estate transfer tax of $1 per $500.

Weekly Report for June 4, 2021

State Legislature scheduled to end session June 10

With four scheduled legislative session days left for the year, state lawmakers continue to race through non-controversial bills and negotiate some last-minute items. NYSAR has been engaging Senators and Assemblymembers on a number of outstanding issues, including support of coop transparency and opposition to good cause eviction, the Community Climate Investment Act, a required lead paint test disclosure during real estate transactions, local community preservation fund taxes and multiple local real estate transaction tax extenders. This week, NYSAR discussed with Senate and Assembly staff our concerns with a fair housing phone hotline and disclosure bill, resulting in successful amendments to the bill removing unnecessary burdens and liabilities on real estate brokers. Lawmakers are also considering a package of gun control bills, criminal justice reforms, and an adult abuse survivor’s act. Read more here.

Assembly passes series of fair housing bills

On June 3, the Assembly passed a pair of fair housing bills which NYSAR supports. You can read NYSAR’s memo in support of the legislation here. The following bills passed both the Senate and Assembly and will be delivered to Governor Cuomo for his consideration within the year.

  • S.538-B/A.4638-A: Adds 2 hours of implicit bias education within the 22.5 hours of CE requirements.
  • S.2132-B/A.5359: Increases pre-licensing broker and salesperson course hours and requires instructors’ compliance in course education under oath.

Additional fair housing bills are expected to be voted on next week, including but not limited to (S.2157-A/A.6355) to require two years of experience as an associate broker before designation as an office manager and (S.2133-A.5363) to add a $30 and $10 surcharge to the license renewal fee for brokers and salespersons, respectively. NYSAR’s Legislative Steering Committee voted to support both bills as well.

Reminder: Applications for NYS Emergency Rental Assistance now being accepted
The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) has started accepting rent relief applications for the state’s $2.7 billion Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). The state will prioritize low-income New Yorkers during the first 30 days, and applications will be processed on a first come, first-served basis after that for as long as funds remain available. Documentation required for the application from both tenants and landlords can be found here. To qualify, tenants must have a household gross income at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) – other eligibility requirements can be found here.