Our Latest Report: Unfinished Business at the Department of Buildings

The Stand for Tenant Safety Coalition (STS) is excited to release our latest report on the issue of construction-as-harassment, titled Unfinished Business at the Department of Buildings.  Through participatory action research over the course of two years (2019 & 2020), STS shares its findings and lays out recommendations to better protect tenants who suffered construction-as-harassment while their buildings underwent construction.
Read the full report below or download here.
An executive summary (limited to just the report's findings and recommendations) can be downloaded here.

Department of Buildings and Department of Finance get a report card on tenant safety

March 13, 2019
Contact: Loretta Kane (917-410-7242 or [email protected])

Department of Buildings and Department of Finance get a report card on tenant safety

City makes limited progress on implementation of 12 tenant safety laws

NEW YORK — Today, the Stand for Tenant Safety coalition (STS) issued a report card on 12 tenant safety measures signed into law by Mayor de Blasio. According to the report, the City’s performance is lackluster, with the coalition issuing a “D” or “F” for poor implementation of a third of the laws. With only two “B” and two “A” ratings — the balance were “C” or “D” grades. (View the report card here.)

STS demands full implementation of the Stand for Tenant Safety legislation. To protect tenants, the City must ensure that the DOB has adequate funding to fulfill the mandate of the laws and provide resources to the Office of the Tenant Advocate. STS is also requesting that the Committee on Housing and Buildings conduct oversight hearings to ensure accountability and transparency.

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“Behind New York’s Housing Crisis: Weakened Laws and Fragmented Regulation,” Kim Barker’s impressive and comprehensive NY Times article of May 20, 2018, makes the case to New Yorkers about why their city is being taken over by the wealthy and how the city’s most abundant source of affordable homes, over one million rent regulated apartments, are draining out of the system. 


Stand for Tenant Safety (STS), a citywide coalition of thirty plus housing advocacy groups, has been on the ground organizing tenants to actively resist  the corporate landlords who buy tenanted buildings for quick profits, and then push out regulated tenants through construction-as-harassment - one of the most threatening forms of harassment that tenants might face.  It often involves ceiling collapses, the release of toxic lead dust, impaired cooking gas pipes, and more than occasionally, causes buildings to be vacated for months on end.


To protect tenants and to give the Department of Buildings (DoB) more clout, STS worked with members of the City Council’s Progressive Caucus to pass 12 local laws that address many of  Ms. Barker’s examples of weakened laws.  One new law creates a “Real Time Enforcement Unit,”  requiring a DoB inspector to get to the site of a dangerous construction violation within twelve hours.  DoB will be hiring 70 additional inspectors to staff this unit.  Other laws mandate that occupied buildings under construction must prominently display the Tenants Construction Bill of Rights on every floor, unpaid violations get fines that are collected in a way do sting the bottom line, and to address fragmented regulation, a task force of public agencies and elected officials is mandated to meet quarterly to evaluate current practices and improve information sharing. 


STS is thrilled to see the in depth coverage presented in “Behind New York’s Housing Crisis: Weakened Laws and Fragmented Regulation.”  Our coalition, tenants, and elected officials are ready to work with DoB to use the new STS laws to vigorously protect New Yorkers.


Tenants celebrate City Council vote to stop 'construction harrassment'

NEW YORK, NY — More than 100 tenants, along with community organizations, legal advocates and elected officials, rallied at City Hall on Wednesday, September 27, 2017, applauding City Council vote and passage of legislation to stop “construction as harassment.” As the 12th and final bill in the Stand for Tenant Safety legislative package, its passage will create a Real Time Enforcement unit (RTE) so that the Department of Buildings can respond to complaints more quickly and will ensure that there is a unit to help measure and track complaints and violators. Aggressive landlords frequently use dangerous construction work in residential buildings to harass rent-regulated tenants. The rally, organized by Stand for Tenant Safety Coalition, celebrated the Council’s vote to pass final bill of a package of legislation to help end the harassment and strengthen tenant rights.


Many unscrupulous landlords use dangerous or negligent construction to harass tenants out of rent-regulated apartments. When landlords successfully evict, displace, or “harass out” rent stabilized tenants, their apartments can be leased to the next tenant at a much higher rent, adding to the loss of affordable housing in New York City.


Stand for Tenant Safety (STS) is a citywide coalition of community organizations fighting to protect the lives and homes of New York City tenants where landlords are using construction as harassment. Funding for tenant protection work is provided through the Office of Civil Justice, NYC Human Resource Administration.

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Contact: Zara Nasir, (646) 584-2274, [email protected]

Stand for Tenant Safety Testifies for Passage of Legislative Package,
Endorsed by Progressive Caucus, to End Construction as Harassment

New York, NY – Tenants and advocates with the Stand for Tenant Safety (STS) Coalition will testify at a hearing today for five of the twelve bills in the STS legislative package which aims to reform the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB). The STS Coalition is a citywide alliance of grassroots tenant organizations and legal service groups collaborating with the Progressive Caucus and the eleven City Council prime sponsors to push for greater protection for tenants, especially in regards to the use of construction as harassment by landlords.

The five bills that will be heard at the Committee on Housing and Buildings hearing encompass:

These bills together give tenants better protection from dangerous construction and help DOB to enforce already existing laws. Without these bills, unscrupulous landlords can use loopholes in the city’s enforcement to create hazardous construction conditions to push tenants out of their homes.

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