Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal to Introduce Legislation Requiring That Buildings Offer Equal Access to All Tenants to Building Amenities and Common Areas

New bill will penalize discriminatory landlord practice of offering amenities to market rate tenants, and prohibiting access to rent-regulated tenants
March 9, 2014

New York, NY – After hearing from numerous tenants living in and around her district, Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan) will introduce legislation to penalize landlords who discriminate against rent-regulated tenants by prohibiting their access to new amenities and common areas, such as fitness rooms, rooftop decks, pools, and playrooms and reserving them exclusively for market rate tenants. The bill will levy a hefty fine on landlords who violate this new section of law: landlords found guilty would be subject to a $25,000 fine and forfeit rent increases until the violation is cured.

“I am angered by reports that landlords across the city are creating separate and unequal living conditions for different classes of tenants,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal. “This kind of insidious segregation has no place in New York City, with its long tradition of inclusivity and diversity. Once my bill becomes law, landlords will no longer be able to relegate rent-regulated tenants to second-class status in their own homes.”

Recently, the owners of Stonehenge Village, a building located on the Upper West Side, came under intense scrutiny after offering access to the building’s new gym to market rate tenants only. The rent-stabilized tenants in the building, of which there are many, have been explicitly prohibited from entering the gym.

In addition to Stonehenge Village, Assemblymember Rosenthal has been contacted by tenants in other buildings in her district who have been treated similarly unfairly by their landlords. The rent-regulated tenants living in the Greystone, located at 212 West 91st Street, have been prohibited from using a new gym, despite offers to pay a monthly fee to use it. Assemblymember Rosenthal wrote a letter to the owners of 230 West 76th Street/ 235 West 75th Street, who were also denying rent-regulated tenants gym access that was provided to market rate tenants. In other buildings Assemblymember Rosenthal is working with, landlords provide free shuttle service between the building and nearby subway stops to market rate tenants only and have also installed pools, game rooms and play areas for market rate tenants only.

This kind of discrimination sends the message that rent-regulated tenants are second-class citizens, somehow not as good or deserving as market rate tenants, said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal. “It is unfair, damaging to the tenants and their families and the social fabric of this city, and it must be stopped.”