Albany Watch: A Focused Look at the 2017 Legislative Session
By The Riddell Group, Albany, N.Y.
ALBANY – The Riddell Group (TRG) followed 36 Assembly Bills and 20 Senate Bills with over 95 percent having a negative impact on the building and realty industry sectors not only in Westchester County, but statewide.
It all began in January when the state’s Taxation Department, at the urging of Gov. Cuomo, took over the disbursements of the STAR Program’s Tax Reimbursements that were previously distributed by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office.
Building and Realty Institute (BRI) members contacted elected officials, making their concerns heard. TRG was in daily contact with the state’s Taxation Department trying to get the issue resolved. Multiple pieces of legislation were introduced to try and fix the problem, including efforts by Assembly Member Sandra Galef and State Senators George Latimer and David Carlucci. The STAR Rebate Program was addressed during the budget and, hopefully, the technical corrections made will result in more timely rebates next year.
TRG moved into defensive overdrive against bills that would have mandated that Major Capital Improvements (MCI’s) be capped at 6 percent A.2239 (Mayer) / S.4568 (Bailey). The proposal would have been devastating to Owners and Managers of rent-regulated apartment buildings and the proper maintenance and preservation of those facilities.
There were also bills attempting to force Co-op/Condo Applications to be acted upon within 45 days (A.7111 Lavine S.2540 Hannon) that were pushed heavily by the New York State Association of Realtors (NYSAR).
Other legislative assaults included technical changes to New York City’s Rent Stabilization Act and the suburban counties’ Emergency Tenant Protection Act (ETPA) Vacancy Decontrol, as well as a last-minute Attorney General Bill on the harassment of rent-regulated tenants.
TRG remained in “Kill Bill” mode until the legislature adjourned. TRG also reports that the 30-day notice to withdraw from the New York State Insurance Fund never was reported out of the Labor Committees in either house.
All-in-all, while the Condo/Co-op and Rental Apartment Industry Sectors came under heavy attack this year, TRG – which included the invaluable legal expertise, assistance and leadership of the BRI, led by BRI Chief Counsel Kenneth Finger and Executive Director Albert Annunziata – was successful in preventing these bills from becoming law.
(Use As A Sidebar, Placed Directly Adjacent To The Above Report)
A Sampling of Bills Relevant to the Building and Realty Sector:
- A.3031 (Englebright) / S.3530 (Lavalle) – To authorize municipal entities to continue the first-time homebuyer program. The program provides localities with an option to allow for a partial real property tax exemption for first-time homebuyers of newly constructed homes – Passed Both Houses
- A.2239 (Mayer) / S.4568 (Bailey) – Caps the amount of collectible rent increases due to Major Capital Improvements at six percent of the legal regulated rent – Made Assembly Calendar, Died in Senate Housing
- A.1598 (Zebrowski) / S.428 (Seward) – Relates to the requirement for policyholders to provide notice to withdraw from the New York State Insurance Fund – Died in Labor Committees in Both Houses
- A.931 (Cahill) / S.874-A (Ortt) – Establishes a green development home tax exemption – Passed Senate, Died in Assembly Real Property Taxation
- A.7111 (Lavine) / S.2540 (Hannon) – Requires applications to purchase condominiums or cooperatives to be acted upon within 45 days, failure to do so results in automatic approval – Died in Assembly Housing, Died in Senate Judiciary
- A.6365 (Pretlow) / S.1756 (Stewart-Cousins) – Extends the expiration of the mortgage recording tax imposed by the City of Yonkers – Passed Senate, Died on Assembly Calendar
- A.8249 (Harris) / S.6636 (Golden) – Requires an owner of real property to provide notice to tenants of a residential lease as to whether a certificate of occupancy, if such certificate is required by law, is currently valid for the dwelling subject to the lease – Passed Both Houses