Cymbrowitz Bill To Protect Seniors And Disabled From Rent Hikes Signed Into Law

Cymbrowitz Bill To Protect Seniors And Disabled From Rent Hikes Signed Into Law
Photo by Erica Sherman
Photo by Erica Sherman

A bill introduced by Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz to protect 5,000 seniors and people with disabilities from losing benefits that would protect them from rent hikes has been signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“This bill will make sure that if your rent was frozen, it will be stay frozen. I’m proud to have written and passed this legislation with my colleague, Senator Diane Savino, and to help ensure that housing stays affordable for our constituents and all New Yorkers,” Cymbrowitz said in a press release sent out Monday.

Changes by the New York City Department of Finance put many at risk of being dropped from the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) and Disabled Rent Increase Exemption (DRIE) programs, which provide tax abatements to landlords to protect eligible elderly and disabled tenants from rent increases.

The new law, which goes into effect immediately, grandfathers participants into the programs as of January 1, 2015 at their current rent. Those who entered the program by July 1, 2015 will also have their rent frozen for as long as they are enrolled, according to Cymbrowitz’ office.

The new law also creates re-enrollment opportunities for people who lost their rent-increase exception after December 31, 2013, or who lost their benefits but became eligible again when when the income limit was increased in July 2014. This will allow people to regain their benefits as if they had never left the program, said Cymbrowitz, who chairs the Assembly’s Aging Committee.

“Helping those who benefit from SCRIE/DRIE to remain independent, self-sufficient and in their own homes speaks volumes about who we are and the values we hold as a priority in this city,” Cymbrowitz said. “I’m pleased that we were able to correct an unfortunate error that caused heartache and frustration for our most vulnerable residents.”

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