2000-05-13 / Front Page

Pheffer’s Bill Passes Assembly

Negligent Landlords Will Be Taxed

Assemblywoman Audrey I. Pheffer announced on Wednesday that legislation she sponsored passed the Assembly for the fourth year in a row and is heading to the Senate for a vote. Pheffer's bill (A.6626-B) would add unpaid building code fines to a negligent landlord’s following year real property taxes. If the fines continued to go unpaid, they would be considered a tax lien against the real property for purposes of collection and the assessment of any interest. The property would then be subject to any foreclosure proceedings or tax lien sales authorized by the law for unpaid real property taxes in New York City.

Although Pheffer has consistently passed her bill in the Assembly, she
believes that the Rent Stabilization Association (RSA), a group that
represents landlords, has played a big part in blocking her legislation in
the Senate.

"I had a meeting earlier this year with the RSA and Queens Borough
President Claire Shulman, who is a supporter of the bill," Pheffer said.
"At that meeting, we finally came to an agreement on legislation that the
RSA will not block in the Senate."

Pheffer added that although Senator Guy Velella has carried the bill in
the Senate for the last three years, it was transferred last week to
Senator Frank Padavan, who is from Queens.

"It is great to have a fellow Queens legislator on board helping to fight
in the Senate for my bill," Pheffer said. "Senator Padavan is aware of how widespread this problem really is and he's assured me that the Senate will pass my bill this year."

Pheffer's bill has received strong community support because Single Room Occupancies (SROs) and illegally converted apartments continue to be a constant source of problems for the surrounding neighborhoods. Frequently, the community takes action by initiating building code inspections, resulting in fines for the landlord. These fines often go ignored and the problems persist until the landlord milks the building dry and abandons it. Pheffer's legislation will enable the city to treat the unpaid fines as liens on the property - giving them the ability to foreclose on a building if the landlord does not pay.

"I have fought a very difficult four-year battle for this legislation. I
am confident that the Senate will pass this bill and that the governor will sign it into law within the month," Pheffer concluded.

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