News Release: Ground Lease Protections Gaining Support at State Capitol as Market Studies Point to Middle-Class Struggle for Affordable Housing

  • May 10, 2024
  • Press Releases

New data released this week show rapidly rising New York City rents continue to be a barrier for middle-income residents and families to find affordable housing.

The report, prepared by Zillow and StreetEasy, which includes statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor, shows average wages in NYC increased nearly 1.2% last year while median rents surged 8.6%.

The report was issued the same week significant activity took place in Albany drawing attention to the need for basic housing rights, affordability and predictability for those living in ground-lease co-op apartments throughout the metro New York area.

Statement from the Ground Lease Coop Coalition: “More residents and families continue to feel the pressure of rising costs, making the affordability of necessities like groceries, utilities, and housing increasingly out of reach. Last year in NYC, rent increased more than seven times faster than wages, the largest gap seen across the U.S. However, legislation is moving in Albany that would address the need for stable and affordable housing and provide basic tenant protections for middle-class families. We urge lawmakers to pass S.7825/A.5031-A to ensure ground lease co-op residents can remain in their homes.”

On Tuesday, the Ground Lease Coop Coalition (GLCC), a diverse, grassroots group representing more than 25,000 residents and families, with the bulk living in communities such as Flushing and the Rockaways in Queens; and Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn, met with legislators at the Capitol in Albany to underscore a simple message: Save Our Homes.

These residents own their apartments, but not the land underneath their buildings. As a result, the literal landlords seek to leverage conditions set decades ago and threaten dramatic increases in the annual rent, which is paid by the co-op owners. In other circumstances, landlords are unwilling to extend the term of the lease causing the current owners to fear the complete loss of their apartment due to a potential eviction.

For those seeking to sell their co-op, sales and potential purchases are hampered because buyers are unable to secure a conventional mortgage; and market values for this real estate asset are artificially low relative to comparable-size apartments in the area stemming from ground lease conditions. The Coalition’s pursuit of fairness, stability, and affordability for co-op owners is gaining momentum, with several new co-sponsors signing onto the measure (Assembly No. 5031A and Senate No. 7825) in recent days, bringing the total to more than 40.

As of May 10, the Assembly sponsors include:
Linda Rosenthal, Tony Simone, Alex Bores, Jeffrey Dinowitz, Jo Anne Simon, Deborah Glick, Mary Jane Shimsky, Rebecca Seawright, Sam Berger, Edward Braunstein, Harvey Epstein, Helene Weinstein, Chris Burdick, Nily Rozic, Juan Ardila, Ron Kim, Maritza Davila, David Weprin, Chantel Jackson, Yudelka Tapia, Fred Thiele, Khaleel Anderson, Catalina Cruz, Amy Paulin, Emily Gallagher, Landon Dais, Monique Chandler-Waterman, Al Taylor, Jonathan Rivera, Karen Reyes, Steven Raga, and Zohran Mamdani.

Senate sponsors include:
Liz Krueger, Cordell Cleare, Toby Ann Stavisky, Brad Hoylman-Sigal, Jessica Scarcella-Spanton, Robert Jackson, Jessica Ramos, Andrew Gounardes, John Liu, Luis Sepulveda, Gustavo Rivera, Shelley Mayer, and Kristen Gonzalez.

The measure has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and is expected to be acted upon by the Assembly Housing Committee in the coming weeks.

To learn more about the Ground Lease Coop Coalition contact: Info@GLCoopCoalition.org or visit https://GLCoopCoalition.org

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