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Testimony before NY City Council for Intro 87

Testimony before NY City Council for Intro 87

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Testimony of Ericka Stallings, Housing Advocacy Coordinator for the New York Immigration Coalition, before the New York City Council Committee on Housing and Buildings

June 22, 2010

Good afternoon. My name is Ericka Stallings, and I am the housing advocacy coordinator of the New York Immigration Coalition, a policy and advocacy organization with approximately 200 member groups throughout New York State that work with immigrants and refugees. I would like to thank the Committee on Housing and Buildings as well as the members of the City Council, for allowing our organization to testify at this very important hearing on Intro 87, the Multiple Dwelling Registration Bill.

Our member groups have increasingly reported that tenants of corporate owned multiple dwellings are having great difficulty accessing the owners of their buildings. This limits their ability to get repairs, pursue litigation or simply bypass unhelpful front line staff.

By requiring landlords organized as corporations and partnerships to register the names of the individual owners with a stake of 25% or more, Intro 87 encourages needed transparency and provides tenants with basic information about their homes. For many tenants their only access to the owner of their building is through a PO Box, an answering service or an intermediary with limited authority.

For low-income, immigrant and limited English proficient tenants, it is extremely important to reduce barriers that prevent tenants from identifying owners and decision makers. The alternatives, reviewing government records such as those of the Department of Finance, are daunting, particularly without legal assistance or support from an advocacy organization.

These barriers exacerbate the housing challenges of immigrants who are already more likely to live in substandard conditions and are significantly less likely to make complaints about housing violations. Intro 87 would give tenants and advocates greater access to key decision makers, thereby reducing delays in the correction of housing problems.

If Intro 87 is passed tenants will have better access to the individuals who have the capacity and authority to address important tenant concerns; directing their communication to the individuals who have direct responsibility and control over the conditions of tenants’ homes. This is an important tool for tenants and advocates, for this reason the New York Immigration Coalition strongly encourages the City Council to support this legislation.

 

 

Thank you.

 

Ericka Stallings
Housing Advocacy Coordinator
New York Immigration Coalition
137-139 West 25th Street, 12th Floor
New York, NY 10001
(212) 627-2227 x239
estallings@thenyic.org

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