Assemblymember Thiele Introduces Affordable Housing Legislation

Legislation would direct local governments to adopt affordable housing plans to address growing housing crisis and provide new incentives to create accessory dwelling units, including forgivable loans and tax incentives

Assemblymember Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) today announced the introduction of two new bills in the New York State Assembly to address the statewide affordable housing crisis that has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. There is an undeniable need for immediate and comprehensive action by state and local governments to save affordable housing options for working- and middle-class families and protect the health of our communities. 

Earlier this year, a proposal was made in the Executive’s budget that would have mandated all local governments to approve the construction of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) for all residential properties regardless of any consideration for local government’s discretion. Assemblymember Thiele joined local governments in acknowledging the benefits of ADUs, but in opposing a one-size-fits-all approach that would have threatened the infrastructure capabilities and character of communities across Long Island and New York State. The Governor later withdrew the proposal from the budget, acknowledging that local decision-making on whether to authorize ADUs should be preserved and that the state should instead focus on incentivizing their creation to increase housing supplies. Assemblymember Thiele’s new legislation aims to address the affordable housing crisis in line with the needs and capabilities of local governments. 

Assemblymember Thiele stated, “From the Budget process, there is a strong consensus that (1) ADUs are part of the solution to provide affordable housing, (2) incentives, not mandates, are the best approach to creating ADUs, (3) local governments should be our partners in addressing the need for affordable housing, and (4) without good planning, no affordable housing policy can succeed. The bills I have introduced today recognize that fact and provide a strategy to increase housing opportunities for all New Yorkers.”

The first bill, A.9872, would establish the Accessory Dwelling Unit Incentive Act. The Act would create the following new incentives to encourage homeowners to construct accessory dwelling units: 

  • The establishment of the “Accessory Dwelling Unit Forgivable Loan Program.” The upfront capital cost of constructing ADUs is one of the biggest impediments to their creation. The loan program, administered by the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, would provide property owners with a forgivable loan of up to $75,000 for 20 years to construct an ADU. If the property owner rents the ADU to tenants meeting affordable income and rent guidelines for the 20-year loan period, the loan would be forgiven and become a grant. 
  • The establishment of an income tax credit for a property owner with a legal ADU who rents it under affordable occupancy, rent, and income guidelines. The amount of the credit would be 50% of the difference between the market-rate rent and the affordable rate rent, not to exceed $10,000 per tax year. 
  • The establishment of a real property tax exemption for a property owner who constructs a legal ADU and rents it in accordance with affordable occupancy, rent, and income guidelines. Local governments would be authorized to grant a property tax exemption equal to 100% of any increase in assessed value of the property attributed to the construction of the ADU.

The second bill, A.9945, would direct every local government to enact a comprehensive five-year plan to address local and regional housing needs. The plan would be required to examine but would not be limited to the following options to create affordable housing:

  • Financial assistance to homebuyers;
  • Production of affordable housing for sale and rent;
  • Production of affordable housing in conjunction with public/private partnerships;
  • Rehabilitation of existing buildings for converting to affordable housing;
  • Acquisition of interests in real property in existing housing stock to produce affordable housing;
  • Accessory dwelling units;
  • Mixed-use developments that include affordable housing; and
  • Housing Counseling Services

Assemblymember Thiele added, “Good planning is critical to the future of our communities. Housing is a critical need for any community land-use plan. Every local government must have a plan to address local and regional needs for housing. These bills will give local governments the plan they need to address affordable housing and the tools they need to implement the plan.