Council Votes to Create Supportive Housing Tenants’ Bill of Rights, Reporting Requirements

Image credit: New York City Council.

The bill of rights provides tenants with necessary rights and information to help them maintain their housing. On December 9, 2021, the City Council voted to approve two bills related to supportive housing. Supportive housing is a form of affordable housing with on-site social and supportive services targeted primarily at formerly homeless households. The bills, both sponsored by Council Member Stephen Levin, create a supportive housing tenants’ bill of rights and require the Department of Social Services to report on the statistics on the eligibility and placements in supportive housing.

Int. 2176-2020 creates a supportive housing bill of rights. Some of the specified rights include but are not limited to:

– knowing whether the dwelling unit is subject to rent stabilization or emergency tenant protection laws, tax exemptions or abatements; 

– the right to reside in a unit fit for human habitation that is free of dangerous conditions; 

– the right to file a petition in court to enforce the housing maintenance code, and that violations can be reported to 311 and appropriate agencies;

– the right to receipts for rent as required under the real property law;

– the right to reasonable accommodations and the right to use and occupy housing without discrimination;

– the right to form, join, or participate in a tenants’ association;

– information regarding the tenant’s specific supportive housing provider, the governmental agency administering the supportive housing program, applicable grievance policies and procedures, list of supportive services available;

– information regarding eviction policies and procedures, including information about obtaining assistance with rental arrears, phone numbers for legal advice or representation.

These rights must be provided to tenants at the time of interview, when the tenant first occupies the unit, at any lease renewal, and upon request. The information will include instructions on how to request rent history and report housing maintenance code violations to agencies and 311. Failure to provide this bill of rights to tenants will result in a penalty of $250 per violation with the ability to avoid the violation by providing the bill of rights within 14 days of notice of the violation. The agency administering the supportive housing program has the responsibility to investigate complaints regarding violations of this law. 

This law takes effect 120 days after the passage of the bill.

Int. 147-2018 requires the Department of Social Services to create an annual report about the number of people who are eligible for, referred for, accepted to, rejected from, and awaiting placement for supportive housing. The report must include information about demographics like age, gender, race, population category, current shelter placement or status as an unsheltered person, the referral source and the average length of time the client has been homeless. The reports must also list reasons clients have been rejected for placement. This law takes effect immediately. 

Council Member Levin tweeted, “Yesterday, [the New York City Council] unanimously passed Intros 2176 & 147, two bills I sponsored for supportive housing tenants and prospective tenants. By passing these bills, NYC is taking a significant step forward in fulfilling its promise of offering stable housing to the most vulnerable. By requiring that supportive housing tenants are informed of their rights and given information about recourse to ensure those rights are being honored, Intro 2176 is a landmark bill for a population that is at extreme risk of returning to homelessness. Intro 147 will allow the city to better understand who is not getting supportive housing placements in order to improve the program and reach those who need it most. These bills are the result of years of collaboration between impacted individuals, advocates, and providers. I am proud of our work on these bills, and proud to pass them unanimously at the second to last Stated meeting of my tenure. I urge [Mayor de Blasio] to sign them as soon as possible.”

By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)


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