BY JESSICA MILITELLO
Members of the Ridgewood Property Owners and Civic Association heard from local elected officials at the group’s May 2 meeting about the impact of proposed bills on neighborhood homeowners and landlords.
RPOCA members and local residents expressed concerns and asked questions as Assemblyman Mike Miller, Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, and state Senator Joe Addabbo took the time to directly address each inquiry and offer their insight. They vowed to find solutions so that voices in their district may be heard.
Several of the bills up for votes pertain to limiting rent hikes and prohibiting rent increases based on building renovations. Miller observed that these bills could particularly affect small landlords.
“For some landlords, it’s a business and I understand that,” said Miller. “We also have to worry about people that live there too. We’re not trying to hurt everybody; there are a number of people who take advantage of tenants, so that’s what we’re trying to do, we’re trying to protect those people.”
Nolan stressed that continued outreach from elected officials and community involvement remain integral for finding common ground.
“We have to be in it to influence it,” said Nolan. “There’s going to be several other hearings including one in Albany, but you do not have to show up to submit testimony. We have a big tenants’ group now in Ridgewood that has been very vocal, but we want all our small landlords to be vocal as well.”
Also in attendance was Angela Mirabile, the executive director of the Greater Ridgewood Restoration Corporation, a nonprofit organization which provides consulting for landlords and tenants for neighborhoods such as Ridgewood.
For Mirabile, the state doesn’t necessarily need to pass more legislation pertaining to rent and housing, but should enforce the laws already in place.
“We have a tenant protection unit that has nine employees for the entire state of New York,” said Mirabile. “My concern is that we’re just coming up with legislation rather than enforcing things that’s already on the books and looking into what some of the owners, a lot of new owners are doing in these buildings. That’s where a lot of these people are getting evicted, bought out, or harassed out.”
While most of the meeting was focused on the proposed renting legislations, the elected officials in attendance also spent some time to discuss congestion pricing, which was approved back in April. They focused on how that could affect residents particularly as the price of the tolls are still being assessed.
“For the next year and a half or so, the public will have an opportunity to weigh in,” said Addabbo. “We just have to be careful with the exemptions that we give because we have to hit the 1 billion dollar mark so we can raise the revenue for the MTA.”