On Wednesday, the City Council passed a series of bills* squarely aimed at developers, contractors and property owners. According to housing expert Sherwin Belkin, Esq., partner at Belkin Burden Wenig & Goldman:
“These bills continue a troubling trend of the City demonizing the entire real estate industry due to the misdeeds of the few. These bills impose numerous increased fines, restrict the right of property owners to communicate with their tenants, give questionable legal authority to the Housing Court to impose compensatory and punitive damages, and create a rebuttable presumption of wrongdoing against property owners for what may be completely benign acts; in other words, guilty until proven innocent.
This legislative overkill stands in stark contrast to the City’s enforcement of the long-existing law against tenants who violate the short term rental ban. That law has been on the books for nearly a decade. The City acknowledges that the law is intended to protect against safety and security concerns. But, while the City seems to have no problem fining owners that violate the law, tenant violators – who are the vast majority of illegal short term renters – act with immunity as the City turns a blind eye to their violating conduct.”
*Copies of the relevant bills are available upon request.
Mr. Belkin is a New York housing law expert, having represented owners in numerous proceedings and hearings before the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal, Attorney General's Real Estate Financing and Consumer Frauds Bureaus, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, New York State Division of Human Rights and New York City Commission on Human Rights. He has been practicing real estate and housing law for more than 35 years.