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Protect Small Property Owners

Fully Reopen the Court System. Because of the devastating impact of the coronavirus, many tenants have been unable to pay their rent. This puts enormous pressure on property owners, most of whom are families and individuals, who themselves are struggling to pay their bills. Now, numerous small landlords are being faced with the prospect of bankruptcy. Hedge funds and faceless large corporations will likely seize control of properties owned by these small landlords if protections are not immediately implemented. We must recognize the contributions our small landlords make to the City’s housing market. Our courts must fully reopen so that property owners will have equal protection under the law.

Property Tax Relief for Small Landlords. Landowners in the City are struggling to pay their property taxes, which have skyrocketed because of improper valuations that are driven up by rampant speculation. This is particularly unfair to small landlords, because rents are going down due to the pandemic and many tenants are not paying their rent at all. Aaron will reform our tax laws to ensure that property tax rates are fair and equitable and that property tax assessments take into account the devastating impact of the ongoing pandemic.

Eliminate Penalties for Late Payments of Property Taxes. Small property owners are struggling because of the pandemic. Unfortunately, the current administration still insists that property taxes must be paid without delay. The city normally charges an astronomical 18% interest penalty for unpaid property taxes, and recent half measures to reduce this penalty are insufficient. Aaron will seek to eliminate all property tax penalties until our local economy has fully recovered.

Postpone All Tax Lien Sales Indefinitely. In the middle of October 2020, just as coronavirus infections were increasing, the current administration listed over 3,000 properties that could be forcibly sold due to outstanding tax and water liens. During the City’s slow recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, we cannot force people out of their homes and onto the streets. The City must immediately make an unequivocable commitment to indefinitely postpone all tax lien sales of property until our economy fully recovers.

Protections Against Abusive Tenants. The pandemic has been a burden on all of us. Unfortunately, some individuals have taken advantage of others during this crisis. In response to the eviction moratorium, some tenants are withholding rent even though they are able to pay rent. Other tenants have exploited the moratorium to aggravate neighbors and destroy property because they know that they cannot be forced out. Although the courts should be compassionate about the hardships caused by the pandemic, those abusing the system should not be given a free pass. The courts must hold accountable both abusive tenants and those tenants who are wrongfully withholding rent.

Reduce the Costs of Environmental Regulations on Property Owners. In 2019, the City Council enacted Local Law 97, an aggressive plan to reduce carbon emissions in large office and residential buildings. Aaron agrees with the spirit of this law, given that buildings are responsible for 70% of the City’s carbon emissions. However, this law imposes enormous costs on property owners, who will be forced to pass them on to office tenants, individuals, and families. We must reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses produced by our City, but we must do so equitably. We must revise this well-meaning law so that we can address the threat of climate change without hurting small property owners.

Compensation for Small Property Owners and Tenants. The eviction moratorium served an important purpose by preventing tens of thousands of tenants from suddenly becoming homeless during the depths of the pandemic. We must now consider, however, how small property owners will be compensated and how tenants will be protected in connection with the massive sums in back rent that are now due. Aaron will fight for tenant relief measures to ensure that property owners are adequately compensated and that tenants are not forced into bankruptcy because of cumulative rent debt.