Queens lawmakers pass bill to protect co-op shareholders from established housing provisions

Photos courtesy of Senator Liu’s office

A bill that would protect co-op shareholders from specific provisions laid down in a 2019 law recently passed in the state Legislature.

Sponsored by Senator John Liu and Assemblyman Edward Braunstein, the bill (S5105C/A350C) ensures vital protections for cooperative tenant-shareholders and makes clarifications to the law as sought by cooperative corporations. Under the law, co-op tenant-shareholders are not subject to some provisions of the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act, which extended protections for renters in traditional landlord-tenant relationships.

“Our community in northeast Queens has a large concentration of affordable cooperative housing, and this bill will ensure this form of homeownership remains within reach. Co-ops will no longer need to fear unintended consequences of the HSTPA, and those tenants in traditional landlord-tenant relationships can rest assured that the HSTPA reforms meant for renters remain fully in effect,” Liu said.

When HSTPA was passed in 2019, some of the provisions in the bill were meant to restore equity in landlord-tenant relationships. But these new housing reforms conflicted with proprietary leases and increased costs of cooperative management.

The new bill passed in the Senate and Assembly on June 10.

“The Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act inadvertently captured cooperatives, which caused unintended consequences for co-op boards and shareholders in New York City,” Braunstein said. “This legislation properly takes into account the unique relationship that co-op boards and corporations have with their shareholders, which is vastly different from the typical landlord-tenant relationship. Exempting cooperatives from these provisions will shield co-op owners from bearing the burden when fellow shareholders fail to meet their financial obligations.”

Joining Liu and Braunstein for the passage of the bill were Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, Warren Schreiber, co-president of Presidents Co-op & Condo Council, Bob Friedrich, co-president of the Presidents Co-op & Condo Council and president of Glen Oaks Village, Geoffrey Mazel, legal adviser to the President’s Co-op & Condo Council and members of the community.

“The passage of this legislation makes it possible for coops, one of New York City’s last bastions of affordable middle-class housing, to remain affordable,” Schreiber said. “New Yorkers facing financial struggles will be able to continue to enjoy the independence that comes with homeownership. A big thank you to our legislators for their lead on the passage of legislation protecting co-op shareholders.”