NYC tenants, landlords and Housing Court don’t need another layer of bureaucracy

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Do state lawmakers intentionally make life worse for landlords and tenants — or are they simply unaware of the damage they cause them?

Those are the only possible explanations for screwed-up legislation they passed this year, known as S4594B. The bill gives tenants in the city, as well as in the rest of the state, a way to use Housing Court to force landlords to make required fixes.

But it’s sure to wind up hurting tenants, landlords and even the court, too — because Gotham already has a process for tenants to use the court against derelict landlords. Adding a layer of bureaucracy will only create more headaches and slow the process down for both parties.

Indeed, representatives of the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development — and in recent years, city-provided attorneys — actually go to court to assist the tenants. So there’s no need for this new process in the city.

And it’s got to be the last thing the already overburdened Housing Court, which is now facing a miles-long backlog, could want. Like countless other Albany edicts, this one provides no new funding, so the cash-strapped court will have to squeeze even more.

Yes, the bill makes sense — for towns and cities upstate where tenants currently have no official way to enlist the court’s help in trying to get landlords to address violations and make repairs. The goal of the bill was to remedy that for those areas, yet somehow New York City was included.

Gov. Kathy Hochul has yet to say if she’ll sign S4594B into law, but but there’s no reason for her not to — as long as she can get lawmakers to agree to remove the city from it in the coming legislative session. If they refuse to agree, she should veto it and let lawmakers start from scratch.

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