Resources

Resources

Finding a Lawyer (free or paid)

Unfortunately, advocacy and organizing is not always enough to stop your landlord from taking you to court. In that case, you will often benefit from a lawyer’s representation in court. See the below links:

Our list of free legal aid organizations for low-income New Yorkers is here. You can only go to them if you are already in court (you have been served court papers).

See Met Council’s page for paid lawyers you can hire if you are not low-income.

U.S. Census Bureau to Hire in the Boroughs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

 

U.S. Census Bureau

New York Regional Office

1-212-584-3440

 

U.S. Census Bureau to Hire in the Boroughs

This fall the U.S. Census Bureau will hire over 500 temporary Field Representatives to conduct the New York City Housing & Vacancy Survey (NYC-HVS). This survey is conducted every three years to comply with the City’s rent regulation laws. The Census Bureau has conducted the survey for the City since 1965.

Applicants who wish to take the Census test for the NYC-HVS must reside within Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Manhattan or the Bronx. The pay rate for Field Representatives in these areas is $16.92 per hour. Employment will last about four to six months. Training is paid and employees are reimbursed for travel expenses. All interested applicants must be over the age of 18, pass a background check, be a U.S. Citizen, and pass a written test and two interviews. All applicants outside of Manhattan are required to have a valid driver’s license and regular access to an insured vehicle. To learn more about job requirements and qualifications call us toll free at 1-800-991-2520 (Select option 2 for recruiting) or send an e-mail with your complete address and phone number to: new.york.recruit@census.gov.

The U.S. Census Bureau is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer.

-X-

U.S. Census Bureau – New York Regional Office

Partnership and Data Services: 212-584-3440

How To Apply for Public Benefits

How To Apply for Public Benefits (from City Limits)

Our How To NYC series continues with a look at help available for everything from food to heat to medical care.

By Jack Curran | Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Public benefits are meant to provide assistance to low-income individuals and families. Benefits come in the form of cash grants, food assistance programs, tax credits and subsidized health insurance.

Food, cash and heat

For families without a sufficient amount of food, the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance offers several nutrition assistance programs. The largest of these programs is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which provides families with electronic benefits that can be used to purchase food at authorized stores. SNAP is the new name for the Food Stamp Program. You can apply for SNAP online on the New York public benefits website.

Eligibility for SNAP is based on income, family size and whether or not there is an elderly or disabled member of the household. The Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance provides an outline of maximum income amounts to help determine if you are eligible to receive SNAP benefits. If you are still unsure, there is a prescreening process for all state assistance programs.

In addition to SNAP, the School Meals program allows children from low-income households to receive free or reduced priced breakfasts and lunches from participating schools. Participating schools provide applications for the School Meals Program. Applications can be submitted to the school at any time during the school year. Families receiving SNAP benefits only need to submit a certification letter from the state or local department of social services to the school to receive benefits.

Women and young children in need of supplemental nutrition are also eligible for the WIC program. WIC provides food, nutrition education and breastfeeding support to low-income pregnant or postpartum women and infants and children up to age five. You must apply for WIC in person at your local WIC providing agency.

Along with nutritional support, there are also assistance programs to help with heating costs. The Home Energy Assistance Program helps low-income New Yorkers cover the cost of heating their homes. HEAP assists with the monthly cost of home heating, and the cost of replacing heating equipment. Eligibility and benefits are based on household income, size and primary fuel source. You can apply for HEAP online along with SNAP.

A more general assistance program is Temporary Assistance, which provides cash payments to help pay for everyday living expenses. Temporary Family Assistance is a benefit program for families with minor children funded by Federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Family Assistance benefits can be received for a total of 60 non-consecutive months. Temporary Assistance is also offered to individuals and families who are not eligible for other benefit programs. Safety Net Assistance provides benefits to single adults, childless couples and families not eligible for Family Assistance. Cash benefits can be received for two years, after which benefits will be offered in non-cash forms such as two party checks. To apply for either form of Temporary Assistance, you should fill out an application, and file it with your local department of Social Services.

Tax credits

The city, state and federal governments also offer tax credits for low-income workers. The Earned Income Tax Credits are tax benefits meant to provide incentive for working and lower the tax burden on low-income workers. If you are eligible for the EITCs then you can get money back on both your federal and state tax returns. To be eligible for the tax credits, you must have worked either full or part time at some point during the year. You must also make below a certain amount, which changes each year. To receive the New York City EITC you must also be a resident of the city, claim the federal EITC and file a New York State tax return.

In addition to the EITCs, working parents may also be able to claim the Federal and State Child Tax Credits. The Federal Child Tax Credit is offered to workers with dependent children under the age of 18. The CTC is worth $1,000 per child, and is used to reduce the family’s income tax liability. After a certain income level, the $1000 per child benefit is reduced. Families eligible for the Federal CTC may also receive the state CTC. Parents who meet certain income thresholds and have qualifying children can receive up to $100 per child, or 33 percent of their allowed federal credit.

New York State also offers an income tax credit for non-custodial parents. To be eligible for this tax credit, you must be a noncustodial parent, have a child support order through New York State for at least half of the year, and have paid the current amount of child support owed for the given year. The credit is equal to either 2.5 times the federal EITC if you had no children, or 20% of the federal EITC for parents with one child.

Insurance

New York State offers several programs to help residents pay for medical care. The most widely known insurance program is Medicaid. If you meet certain financial requirements or have particularly high medical expenses, then you may apply for Medicaid. The New York State department of Health offers a guide to help you figure out if you are eligible for Medicaid, or any other state health benefits.

Families with children under the age of 19 have a choice between children’s Medicaid and Child Health Plus, a low-cost insurance for children provided by the state. Children not eligible for Medicaid can enroll in Child Health Plus, which offers varying premiums based on income and family size.

Adults between the ages of 19 and 64 who are not eligible for Medicaid can apply for Family Health Plus. Family Health Plus is available to single adults, couples without children and parents in New York State. Like Child Health Plus, this program provides coverage with low premiums and co-payments.

To apply for Medicaid, Child Health Plus or Family Health Plus, you must fill out the Access New York Health Care Application. Applications can then be submitted to your local department of social services. Hard copies of applications can be obtained by calling New York Health Options at (855) 693-6765.

In addition to health coverage, New York State offers several programs to help cover the
cost of prescriptions. New York Prescription Saver is a pharmacy discount card that lowers the cost of prescriptions by up to 60% on generics, and 30% on name brands. If you are between the ages of 50 and 65, make less than $35,000 and do not receive Medicaid, then you are eligible for NYPS. You can apply for NYPS by filing out an online application or calling 1-800-788-6917. If your application is approved, then you will receive your discount card within two weeks.

Residents above the age of 65 making less than $35,000 may be eligible for Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage. This program helps cover the cost of prescription drugs for low-income residents who receive Medicare part D benefits.

To apply for EPIC, you can print out an application and send it to EPIC, P.O. Box 15018, Albany, NY, 12212-5018. You can also call 1-800-332-3742 for application assistance.

The Community Service Society of New York offers several tools for accessing public benefits. They can be found here.

Resources and Information in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy — CSC Open

Fri 11/16:

If you lost food due to the power outage, do you receive Food Stamps?

No:
There is no money available for you. Con Ed will not reimburse you for a “Residential Claim for Food and Medicine Spoilage” Form as that form states,”Claims for reimbursement for losses sustained as of result of power outages caused by storms or other conditions beyond our control will not be paid.” Our local politicians and Con Ed have verified this. Other forms of assistance may be available from FEMA (such as for lost wages or house damage), see if you qualify here.

Yes:
Your account will be credited for 50% more this month. and you may be able to have your lost food reimbursed. For more details, “New Yorkers Receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Affected by Hurricane Sandy” section on HRA’s website.

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How to Find an Apartment Without Bedbugs

By Teri Karush Rogers, Founder and Editor, BrickUnderground.com

In AM New York of Thur 1/5/12, retrieved here.


Rest unassured: In the city that never sleeps, bedbugs are still a major cause of insomnia for thousands of New Yorkers trapped in infested apartments and buildings. Whether you’re renting or buying, here’s how to minimize the chance that they will be waiting behind your next front door.

Renters

• Plug the building’s address into theBedBugRegistry.com and the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Look for complaints of multiple apartment infestations within the past year and signs that the landlord is unresponsive.

• NYC landlords must give you a bedbug disclosure form stating whether the bloodsuckers have been detected in the apartment or in the building in the past year, and on what floor. Be extra concerned about infestations on your floor or adjacent floors. You should also ask how the landlord or management company is dealing with the problem. They should sound knowledgeable — not defensive or dismissive.

• Ask the neighbors: Unlike co-op and condo owners, they have nothing to lose by telling you if there’s a problem in the building.

Buyers

• Co-op and condo owners tend to keep bed bug problems quiet for fear of hurting resale values, so you won’t learn much by asking the neighbors or poking around online. However, like landlords, co-op owners are required by law to tell buyers about a bed bug problem in the apartment in the past year, and in the building if they know about it (though this is far from guaranteed). Condo owners only have to disclose problems in their apartment, and only when asked.

• Either way, ask your attorney to put a seller’s representation in the contract stating that to the seller’s knowledge there has never been a bed bug problem in the building.

• Your attorney should also ask the property manager about the building’s bed bug history and pay close attention to the response: Ignoring the question or passing the buck may indicate a problem.

A word about inspections…

Before you spend a few hundred dollars on a bedbug-sniffing dog (assuming you can get access to your prospective digs), understand that it will be challenging for a dog to find evidence if the apartment is empty as the bugs typically hibernate in the walls out of reach.

If the apartment is empty, consider scattering a variety of “passive” detectors (sticky traps) and “active” detectors (which emulate the presence of a human being) where the couch and bed used to be. The active monitors range from a fancy plug-in machine like the Nightwatch Bed Bug Monitor (around $400) to the lower-tech BB Active Alert Bed Bug Monitor ($25 + heating pads). Passive varieties include the CatchMaster Bedbug Detection System ($65/five dozen).

It can take around two weeks to detect signs of bedbugs in a vacant apartment (for best results, the apartment should be empty for less than a few weeks), so this is not a practical option for renter, nor for many buyers.

If you do go the dog route, bear in mind that false positives are a particular problem with untrained and/or scam-minded handlers. Make sure the company you hire is recommended by the National Entomology Scent Detection Canine Association.

If you’re moving from a bedbug problem, consider taking extra precautions against bringing hitchhikers with you: Add an extra night to your move to have your moving truck fumigated. This also eliminates the possibility of picking bedbugs up in transit.

Finally, just because you move into an apartment (or building) without bedbugs does not, of course, guarantee it will always be without bedbugs. Early detection — achieved by bedbug “proofing” your apartment — is the best way to minimize the expense and psychological trauma of a bedbug infestation.

Roommates: Rights and Risks

Rent Stabilized and Rent Controlled Tenants:

A rent stabilized tenant has the right to take in a roommate and the roommate’s dependent children. When two or more tenants are named on the lease, the number of tenants and roommates cannot exceed the number of tenants named in the lease. In all situations, occupancy may be restricted in order to comply with municipal regulations concerning overcrowding.

In a rent stabilized apartment, the rent collected from the roommate cannot exceed their proportionate share of the apartment. For example, one tenant named on a lease can take in one roommate and the roommate can be charged no more than half of the legal rent. The roommate can be advised to file a complaint of rent overcharge with DHCR if they were charged in excess of that proportionate share.

With regard to a rent controlled apartment, a roommate may not be charged an amount of rent that is in excess of the legal rent for the apartment. Any determination of a rent overcharge is under the jurisdiction of the civil court.

Unregulated Tenants:

In unregulated apartments, the landlord does not have to permit you to have a roommate if you are the sole person on the lease. If you want to bring in a roommate, you should obtain the landlord’s consent. In any case, the landlord can always decide not to renew your lease whether you have a roommate or not since tenants in unregulated apartments have no right to an automatic lease renewal.

Tenants and Roommates Should Do Due Diligence:

Regardless of whether you are the leaseholder or the potential roommate, you should do the following; 1) Do a credit check, and even a criminal background check on the other person (you’ll need their birth date). There are online companies that can do this inexpensively (less than $30).

If after the roommate moves in, you don’t get along, and your roommate refuses to leave, you cannot simply change the locks. You will have to take your roommate to Housing Court to evict him or her. The ensuing eviction process could be both painful and expensive. Remember, until the eviction process is complete you may have to live with this person.

If you are considering joining someone as a roommate, make your decision carefully. Do the following: 1) Ask to see a copy of their lease proving that they are the legal tenant; 2) Ask to see proof they are current with their rent. You don’t want to move into an apartment, and give a deposit and two months rent only to find out the leaseholder is being evicted for non-payment. 3) During the interview process, try to find out as much as possible about the primary tenants’ plans. Ask if they are willing to ask the landlord to put you on the lease after a probationary period, if possible. If this isn’t possible, your rights are very limited and your ability to stay in the apartment may be cut short at any time.

If you join someone as a roommate (i.e. your name isn’t on the lease) another set of problems can crop up. In most instances, if your roommate (the leaseholder) leaves, you have no right to keep the apartment. The primary tenant might also decide to temporarily sublet to someone, in which case you will suddenly have a new housemate not of your choosing. This can and does happen. Negotiate an agreement up front with the leaseholder, requiring that you have a say in the process of selecting the sub-tenant in the event that the leaseholder decides to sublet his or her apartment.

This Fact Sheet was prepared by staff of the Cooper Square Committee

 

 

HOW TO REPORT AN ILLEGAL HOTEL

Here are the basics:

  • The Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement has become the “go to” agency for investigations of illegal hotels.
  • You should contact them at (212)788-7140 if you believe an illegal hotel is being operated out of your building. When calling state that you are calling to report an illegal hotel.
  • When reporting an illegal hotel you will need to call to make an initial report and then afterward follow-up with additional calls when you see instances of the hotel’s operation.
    (*For example if you see someone that you don’t believe to be a tenant carrying luggage into one of the units which you’ve identified as a hotel unit, you should call the Special Enforcement Office to report it.)
  • Pay attention to what’s happening in your building and call every time you see suspicious activity happening.
  • The inspector will continue to log these instances and build a case against you landlord &/or the hotel operator.
  • To effectively prove that a hotel is being operated out of your building you will need to work with the inspector from the mayor’s office to build a case. The more you report to the inspector the better your chances are of proving the hotel exists and of shutting it down.

* For more information contact Brandon*

How to Apply for Food Stamps and Medicaid

How to Apply for Food Stamps:

To apply online for Food Stamps, click the link here:

http://www.nyc.gov/html/hra/html/directory/food.shtml

 

Church Based Food Resources:

In addition to accessing Food Stamps, low income people residing on the Lower East Side can access free lunches in order to supplement their nutritional needs.

www.safhnyc.org – Trinity’s Services and Food for the Homeless (SAFH) is a non-profit organization connected to Trinity Lutheran Church’s Parish.  It is located at East 9th St. and Avenue B, and provides lunch to anyone regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or age at 11 am Monday through Friday.  No ID is required, and they do not prosyletize.

SAFH also operates a food pantry at 12:30 pm, Monday through Friday.  Proof of household size is required so that they can provide each household with the appropriate amount of food.

Grafitti Church provides brown bag lunches to people every Saturday in Thompkins Square Park, at E. 7th St. and Avenue B.

 

Medicaid and other Health Insurance Programs:

To apply for Child Health Plus, Family Health Plus, Medicaid and the Family Planning Benefit Program, click the link below:

http://www.health.ny.gov/health_care/family_health_plus/application.htm

Based upon the information you provide, you will be told which program you and/or your children are eligible for. You can use ACCESS NY Public Health Insurance Eligibility Screening Tool to see which public health insurance programs you and your family may be eligible for.

 


 

 

 

The Rent Guidelines Board’s Minimum Increases: What They Could Mean For You

We reproduce here a letter from John Edward Dallas, a Cooper Square Committee staff member, in response to an inquiry from a rent-stabilized tenant about the Rent Guidelines Board’s controversial minimum increases.  The latter, after nearly a year and a half of being disputed in the New York State court system, were declared lawful by the state’s highest court in April of this year.  We believe the information John provides in his e-mail will be helpful to the many rent-stabilized tenants who seek – and should have – more information about the minimum increases.

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List of Insurance Companies

Listing of Insurance Companies serving the NYC Area

Contact them to get a quote for Apartment Renters Insurance

 

Allstate

32 Union Sq E #313

New York, NY 10003
212-982-6606

 

Nationwide

877-669-6877

 

Gotham Brokerage Co., Inc.

156 William Street

New York, NY 10038-5322

(212) 406-7300 ‎

 

State Farm

58 W 8th Street

New York, NY 10011-9044

(212) 253-2230

 

Travelers

888-695-4625

 

Note:  The Cooper Square Committee does not receive any commission, nor do we receive any financial benefits by providing this list of insurance companies.  We recommend that you get quotes from at least two companies, and review the policy details.

 

 

Stop Bed Bugs Safely – from Dept of Health

Produced by NYC Dept of Health and Mental Hygiene     Revised 12-08

download Download the colorful, fancy PDF of this fact sheet
from the NYC Dept of Health website here.

También disponible en Español.

 

WHAT ARE BED BUGS?Click to enlarge this picture of a bedbug.

Bed bugs are small insects that feed on human blood. They are usually active at night when people are sleeping. Adult bed bugs have flat rusty-red-colored oval bodies. Adult bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed, they are big enough to be easily seen, but often hide in cracks in furniture, floors, or walls. When bed bugs feed, their bodies swell and become brighter red. They can live for several months without feeding on a host.

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The Law on Heat and Hot Water

The law states that from October 1 through May 31:

  • 6am-10pm: If outside it’s <55°, inside must be >68° everywhere in your apartment.

  • 10pm-6am: If outside it’s <40°, inside must be >55° everywhere in your apartment.

  • Hot water: >120° at the tap, 24 hours/day, 365 days/year.

IF YOUR LANDLORD DOES NOT MAINTAIN THOSE MINIMUM TEMPERATURES, you should:
click here to find out…

Bedbug Treatment – from a contractor

Fact sheet from Manhattan Legal Services and Pestaway


Pestaway Bed Bug Treatment Preparation List

Because this is a second attempt at treatment, you may have already completed step one (covering your mattress and pillows). Therefore, please alter your preparation accordingly. To ensure success in solving your bed bug problem, it is crucial that you complete all the steps on this list.

ITEMS NEEDED (available at front desk)

  1. Very sturdy garbage bags (clear or black are fine).
  2. Pest Away-approved, zipper-lock, polyester, double knit, stretch material mattress covers.
  3. Pest Away-approved zippered pillow covers.
  4. Powerful canister vacuum with bags.
  5. Steri-Fab.
  6. PackTite “cooker” to treat items that cannot be washed or sprayed.

PREPARATION Step One

Remove all bed linens and put on mattress and pillow covers. It is recommended that these covers be left on permanently.

Step Two

1. All clothing and personal items must be put in garbage bags and sealed tightly.

Garbage bags are available at the front desk.

2. Items can be cleaned/treated either before they are sealed in bags or after the exterminator comes, but it must be done before items are removed from bags and put away.

3. Washable items MUST be washed and placed in dryer. You should drop your laundry off for wash/fold service and then submit the ticket to the front desk for payment before you pick it up. The hotel expects to pay up to $25 per tenant for laundry and dry cleaning. For reimbursement requests above this amount, please call Roz Black of Manhattan Legal Services at 646-442-3134 so that she can discuss it with the hotel’s lawyer.

4. Items that cannot be washed and put in dryer should be dry cleaned. Dry cleaning tickets should also be submitted at the front desk for payment.

S. Items that cannot be washed or dry cleaned such as shoes, suitcases, bags, etc. should first be vacuumed and then sprayed with Steri-Fab. Vacuums and Steri-Fab will be available at the desk.

6. Bagged and treated items should be removed from your room and stored in designated rooms on each floor.

7. Once these items are bagged and treated DO NOT unpack them until you receive the okay from Pest Away.

 

Step Three

All books and papers should be sealed in bags and kept there for 8 months. For a limited amount of items that are needed sooner, the hotel will have available a PackTite, which is a suitcase-sized “cooker” that is used to heat items up to kill bedbugs. Each tenant will be allowed to put one bankers box (12 x 10 x 15) full of items in the PackTite. These items could alternatively be vacuumed and sprayed with Sterifab, but the spray may damage them.

Step Four

Loosen electrical plates on all sockets in the room to be treated so that exterminator can properly treat these key areas where bed bugs love to nest.

Step Five

Vacuum all of the cracks and crevices of the room as close to the exterminator visit as possible. Vacuums are at the front desk.

POST TREATMENT

1. You must vacuum EVERY DAY for a minimum of three to four weeks. Areas to vacuum include floors, headboards, baseboards and every conceivable crack and crevice in the room. The goal is to extract bed bugs and newly hatched bugs from these areas. THE VACUUM BAG MUST BE TAKEN OUT OF THE VACUUM, PLACED IN A PLASTIC BAG AND DISCARDED EACH TIME YOU STOP VACUUMING FOR 30 MINUTES OR MORE!

  1. You should sleep in the bed a minimum of 4 nights a week to draw out bugs.
  2. Everything should be kept packed up until okayed by Pestaway.

EXTERMINATION SCHEDULE

  1. Necessary preparation items to be at desk by Thursday, June 17.
  2. Tenants to pack up personal items and do preparations by treatment day which varies by floor.
  3. Exterminator to treat 4th & 5th Floors on July 1 (Round One).
  4. Exterminator to treat 2nd & 3rd Floors on July 2 (Round One).
  5. Exterminator to treat 4th & 5th Floors on July 22 (Round Two)
  6. Exterminator to treat 2nd & 3rd Floors on July 23 (Round Two).

If you cannot be home on the treatment days, you must leave your room key with another tenant or the hotel desk.

You and any cats will need to be out of your room for several hours on treatment days which includes the treatment time and time for the chemicals to dry and odors to dissipate.

 

TENANTS IN BUILDINGS IN FORECLOSURE

If you have the misfortune of being a tenant in a building in foreclosure, you should be aware that you have certain rights under a federal law known as The Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009.  Here is some important information about this legislation:

  • The PTFA, originally S. 896, now Public Law 111-22, has been in effect since it was signed into law by President Obama on May 20, 2009, as part of The Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009.
  • The PTFA is the law of the land.  It is in effect nationwide – on the federal, state, and local levels – and operates and is enforceable in all jurisdictions and localities.  It is applicable to all residential properties sold at foreclosure after May 20, 2009.
  • The purpose of the PTFA is to provide renters with a legal mechanism with which to confront the possibility of displacement and to ward off homelessness.
  • The PTFA mandates everywhere in the nation that:
    • New owners of residential properties purchased in foreclosure who wish to evict current tenants must give them a minimum of 90 days’ notice to vacate before the effective date of such notice.
    • New owners of foreclosed properties must honor existing leases (“entered into before the notice of foreclosure”) until the end of their term.  In other words, new owners or their agents are prohibited from unilaterally breaking a lease to cut short a tenancy on the grounds of new ownership.  Consequently, tenants with a one-year or other fixed-term lease may remain in place until their lease expires.  There are two exceptions to this rule:
      • When the new owner plans to make the residential property his or her primary address.
      • Where a tenant is without a lease (for example, month to month) or has “a lease terminable at will under State law.”
        • However, in both cases, the tenant must be given a 90-day notice of the intent to evict.
  • The PFTA also mandates everywhere in the nation that:
    • The 90 days’ notice must be given to anyone who, as of the date of the notice of foreclosure, is a “bona fide” tenant, whether or not there is a lease.
      • PTFA establishes several criteria for what qualifies a lease or tenancy as bona fide:
        • The tenant cannot be the mortgagor or the child, spouse, or parent of the mortgagor.
        • The lease or tenancy must be the result of an arms-length transaction. (Answer.com defines this as a transaction in which the parties involved have no personal relationship to each other and are not subject to any duress or pressure from each other.)
        • The rent required under the lease cannot be substantially less than the fair market rent for the property OR the rent is subsidized by a Federal, state, or local subsidy.  (It is uncertain whether a rent-stabilized or rent-controlled tenancy is “bona fide.”)
  • The PTFA  provides specific protections for Section 8 tenants on foreclosed properties.  It requires new owners to:
    • Honor the lease between the former owner and the Section 8 tenant, and
    • Honor the housing assistance payments contract between the previous owner and the public housing agency that administers the Section 8 voucher
  • The protections provided by the PTFA are a floor not a ceiling.  In other words, they are minimum protections and, as such, do not supersede greater protections – such as longer advance notice or additional related protections – provided by State or local law.
  • All the renter protection provisions expire at the end of 2012.
  • All the renter protection provisions are self-executing.  That is, no federal agency, including HUD, is responsible for enforcing the PFTA.  Tenants facing eviction due to a foreclosure of their building can use PFTA’s protections as a claim or defense in a court proceeding.
  • Awareness of the PFTA’s provisions is very limited among both tenants and housing court judges and elected officials.  So spread the word!
  • An excellent additional resource on the PFTA on the Web site of the National Low Income Housing Coaltion.  It provides a “Renters in Foreclosure Toolkit” at http://www.nlihc.org/template/page.cfm?id=227.

Rights of Rent Stabilized Tenants in Co-ops

Rent-stabilized tenants who believe they are being harassed have the right to file a complaint with the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal, also known as DHCR, the state agency which oversees rent-regulated apartments. (The state Attorney General also provides assistance to tenants with harassment problems in some instances.)

If, after an administrative hearing, DHCR finds that harassment has taken place, it may levy steep fines against the responsible entity or individual. Landlords – in this case, the co-op board of directors or the management company – found guilty of harassment are subject of fines of up to $5,000 for each violation. Under certain circumstances, harassment of a rent-regulated tenant may constitute a class E felony. Furthermore, DHCR will permit no rent increases once there has been a finding of harassment until there is a finding that the harassment has ended.

Tenants may also bring a claim in housing court and the court may issue restraining orders against the landlord if violations have been found.

TO BUILDING SERVICES

The rent- stabilization law protects tenants in rent-stabilized apartments from service reductions by landlords, in this case the co-op board or management company. A co-op board of directors may be legally prevented from changing, reducing, or eliminating a building service they consider no longer needed or too costly to maintain. Service reductions which will impact rent-stabilized tenants must undergo a filing and review process with DHCR’s Office of Rent Administration, where the board may or may not be granted permission to eliminate or reduce the service.

The costs of major capital improvements (MCIs) paid for out of the reserve fund of a housing co-op, unless reimbursed by a special assessment on unit owners or shareholders, and those paid from grants from governmental entities, cannot be passed on to tenants living in rent-stabilized units. (The most common MCIs are new roofs, elevators, boilers, or windows in every apartment.)

TO ORGANIZE AND PROTECT THEIR RIGHTS

While their status as non-shareholders deprives rent-stabilized tenants of the right to participate in shareholder meetings or otherwise play a role in the operation or management of the cooperative, they still have a legal right to organize. State law allows them to form, join, and participate in tenants’ organizations for the purpose of protecting their rights, including organizing rent strikes.

In addition, tenants’ groups have the right to meet in any common area in their building, such as lobbies and halls, in a peaceful manner and as long as these meetings do not interfere with the right of others to enter, leave, or move about the building. Landlords are forbidden by law from interfering with tenant-organizing activities or harassing a tenant from participating in them.

 

THE RIGHTS OF TENANTS WITH DISABILITIES

Tenants with physical or mental disabilities have certain civil and human rights under federal, state, and city laws.  The common goal of all three layers of laws is to “level the playing field”:  to ensure that people with disabilities have the same opportunity as people without disabilities to enjoy and use their apartments and their residence’s common and public areas.  Serving as protections, this group of fair-housing and human-rights laws makes it unlawful for “housing providers” ― property owners, landlords, housing-management companies, and co-op boards, among others – and their employees to discriminate against tenants with disabilities.

 

Consequently, housing providers and their employees are prohibited by law from subjecting tenants with disabilities to terms or conditions that differ from – are stricter or less favorable than – those they require of tenants without disabilities.  This prohibition applies equally to double standards regarding privileges and treatment, such as management refusing to respond to maintenance calls or responding more slowly because of a tenant’s disability, or making threatening or intimidating remarks to a tenant because of his or her disability.

 

In addition, to eliminate both policy and physical barriers to the maximum personal use by tenants with disabilities of their rental units and common and public-use areas associated with their residence, the law prohibits housing providers and their employees from refusing to honor the request by a tenant with a disability for:

 

A reasonable accommodation.  This is a change, exception, or adjustment to a rule, policy, practice, or service that may be necessary to afford a person with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling, including public and common spaces.  The accommodation requested must be related to the disability of the person making the request.  It also must not require a housing provider to rack up unreasonable financial or administrative costs, or alter the essential nature of a housing provider’s operations.  Housing providers may not require persons with disabilities to pay extra fees or deposits as a condition of receiving a reasonable accommodation.

 

Examples of reasonable accommodations: A landlord notifies a tenant with multiple chemical sensitivities in advance of painting and pest treatments.  A landlord assists an applicant with a mental disability in filling out required forms or paperwork.  If a tenant with a disability needs oral reminders to pay the rent, the landlord agrees to call or visit to remind the person before each month’s rent is due.  A landlord makes an exception to the building’s “no pets” rule for people with disabilities who use guide dogs or other service or emotional support animals.  A tenant with a disability is permitted to move from a one-bedroom to a two-bedroom apartment to have space for her live-in care provider.

 

A reasonable modification. This is a structural change to be made to the interior or exterior of the unit of a person with a disability that may be necessary to afford her or him full enjoyment of the premises.  The exterior includes common and public-use areas.  The reasonableness of a proposed modification hinges predominantly on two factors:  a relationship between the disability of the person making the request and the intended modification, and assurance that the modification will be done properly and will comply with all necessary building and architectural codes.  While the housing provider must permit the modification, the tenant is responsible for the cost of the modification, except if the housing provider receives federal funds.

 

Examples of reasonable modifications: Widening doorways to make rooms more accessible for persons in wheelchairs; lowering kitchen cabinets to a height suitable for persons in wheelchairs.  Installing grab bars in bathrooms.  Replacing door knobs with levers for a person with arthritis.  Installing an automatic water faucet shut-off for people who can’t remember to turn off the water.  Installing pictures or color-coded signs for people whose cognitive disabilities make written signs impossible to use.  Disconnecting a stove and installing a microwave for a person unable to operate a stove safely.  Installing carpeting or acoustic tiles to reduce to reduce noise made by a person whose disability causes him or her to make a lot of noise.

 

 

IF YOU SUSPECT YOU HAVE BEEN THE VICTIM OF HOUSING DISCRIMINATION, YOU CAN FILE A COMPLAINT WITH ONE OF THESE GOVERNMENT AGENCIES:

 

The New York State Division of Human Rights

One Fordham Plaza, 4th Plaza

Bronx, NY 10458

718-741-8400; Toll-free number:  1-888-392-3644

New York City Commission on Human Rights

40 Rector Street, 9th Floor

New York, NY

212-306-7450

 

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development

26 Federal Plaza, Room 3532

New York, NY 10278

212-264-5072; Toll-free number:  1-800-496-4294

 

 

REFERENCES:

 

  • “Reasonable Accommodations Under the Fair Housing Act,” Joint Statement of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Justice, Washington, D.C., May 17, 2004
  • “Reasonable Modifications Under the Fair Housing Act,” Joint Statement of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Justice, Washington, D.C., March 5, 2008
  • “What ‘Fair Housing’ Means for People with Disabilities,” Bazelton Center for Mental Health Law, June 2006
  • Fair Housing Guide:  Know Your Rights, New York State Division of Human Rights

 

SECTION 504 OF THE REHABILITATION ACT OF 1973 AND THE HOUSING RIGHTS OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, often simply called “Section 504,” is a federal law that nationwide prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in housing-related programs, services, or activities conducted by HUD or that otherwise receive federal financial assistance – that is, that receive funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) or any federal department or agency. The definition of “federal financial assistance” under Section 504 is not limited to funding.  It means any grant, loan, contract, or any other arrangement by which a federal department or agency makes assistance available also as human (services of federal personnel) or physical (buildings or land) resources.

 

Section 504’s Protection and Definition of a Person with a Disability

 

Section 504 protects qualified individuals with disabilities and defines individuals with disabilities as persons with a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities.  People who have a history or, or who are regarded as having a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, are also covered.  Major life activities include caring for one’s self, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, working, performing manual tasks, and learning.  Some examples of impairments which may substantially limit major life activities, even with the help of medication or aids/devices:  AIDS, alcoholism, blindness or visual impairment, cancer, deafness or hearing impairment, diabetes, drug addiction, heart disease, and mental illness.

 

Section 504’s Prohibitions

 

Not only does Section 504 outlaw disability-motivated discrimination expressed as exclusion from a federally-subsidized housing program, service or activity.  It also aims to prevent and, where it exists, to eliminate another traditional form of housing discrimination on the basis of disability:  segregation.  Thus, Section 504 prohibits the denial of a federally-funded apartment or house to an otherwise qualified buyer or renter because of a disability of that buyer or renter or another prospective tenant (that is, someone who will live with him or her), and bans the imposition of application or qualification criteria, rental fees or sales prices, and rental or sales terms or conditions that are different than those required or provided to person who are not disabled.

Equally importantly, Section 504 prohibits requiring persons with a disability to accept a different kind or lesser program or service than what is provided to others, and requiring them to participate in separate programs and services, even if separate programs and services exist.  For another example, housing providers may not require persons with disabilities to live only on certain floors, or to all live in one section of the housing.  In short, Section 504 makes it illegal to provide federally-subsidized programs or services to persons with disabilities in settings that are unnecessarily separate or restricted.

 

A key component of Section 504’s overarching goal of creating equal housing opportunity for persons with disabilities is the law’s removal of barriers through the obligatory promotion and implementation of programmatic and architectural accessibility.  Therefore, under Section 504 housing providers who are recipients of federal assistance must take steps, as needed, to ensure that existing housing programs are readily accessible and usable by persons with disabilities, and develop and implement a transition plan to ensure compliance.  To this end, Section 504 mandates that recipients of federal assistance provide reasonable accommodations (for example, readers, sign-language interpreters, and materials in accessible formats), with certain limitations, which may be necessary for a person with a disability to use or participate in a housing-related program, service, or activity.

 

In addition, recipients of federal assistance are required under Section 504 to ensure that all new construction of housing facilities is readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities, and meets the requirements of applicable accessibility standards.  They must also ensure that that substantial alterations, when undertaken, meet the requirements for new construction.

 

The definition of “recipient” in Section 504’s regulations includes, for example any State or its political subdivision (such as a county, city, town, or village), any public or private agency, institution, or organization to which federal financial assistance is extended for any program or activity directly or through another recipient.  However, the ultimate beneficiary of the assistance is not a “recipient” for the purpose of Section 504.  Thus, a HUD-funded public housing authority, or a HUD-funded non-profit developer of low-income housing is a recipient of federal financial assistance and is subject to Section 504’s requirements.  However, a private landlord who accepts Section 8 tenant-based voucher in payment for rent from a low-income individual is not a recipient of federal financial assistance.

 

TO REPORT A VIOLATION OF YOUR RIGHTS UNDER THE FAIR HOUSING ACT OR TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE FHA, CONTACT HUD’S HOUSING DISCRIMINATION HOTLINE AT 1-800-669-9777(VOICE) OR 1-800-927-9275 (TTY).

 

REFERENCES:

 

  • “Key Provisions and Regulations Implementing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act,” www.hud.gov
  • “Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act,” www.fairhousingrights.org
  • “Section 504:  Frequently Asked Questions,” www.lcha.ws
  • “What ‘Fair Housing’ Means for People with Disabilities,” Bazelton Center for Mental Health Law, June 2006

THE HOUSING RIGHTS OF HOMELESS PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

Homeless persons with disabilities have certain civil and human rights under federal, state, and city laws, with respect to their application for and use of shelters and transitional housing programs.  Of particular relevance in this regard is the federal Fair Housing Act, a national law that prohibits housing-discrimination everywhere in the country on the basis of disability.  It applies to all types of housing intended as a short or long-term residence, including shelters that house persons for more than a few days, transitional housing facilities, and permanent housing facilities.  It also covers housing provided through dormitory-style sleeping units as well as apartments and single room occupancy units.

 

Under the Fair Housing Act – as well as another national law, the Americans with Disabilities Act, popularly known as the ADA, which outlaws disability-based discrimination in places of public accommodation, which includes, for example, emergency overnight shelters and social service facilities – homeless service providers cannot turn away persons with disabilities simply because of their disabilities or terminate residents because of a disability or disability-related behavior.  However, individuals with disabilities whose behavior would constitute a direct threat to the health or safety of other individuals are not protected under the Fair Housing Act or the ADA.

 

Homeless service providers are also prohibited under the Fair Housing Act from applying eligibility criteria that would screen out people with disabilities, such as stating that the shelter does not serve people with mental illness, HIV/AIDS, or service animals.  Nor are homeless service providers legally permitted to impose on people with disabilities terms or conditions that are stricter or less favorable than those expected or required of residents without disabilities.

 

In addition, homeless service providers are obligated to provide reasonable accommodations to prospective or current residents with disabilities.  Reasonable accommodations are changes, exceptions, or adjustments to a program, service, or procedure that will allow a person with a disability to have equal (to persons without disabilities) access to and enjoyment of the housing program.  There must be an identifiable relationship between the requested accommodation and the person’s disability.  Reasonable accommodations need not be provided if they would constitute an undue financial or administrative burden, or if they would be a fundamental alteration of the provider’s program.

 

Examples of reasonable accommodations include:  Waiving a no pet rule for a service animal.  Providing a bed assignment in an accessible location.  Reading the terms of an agreement aloud.  Filling out an application.  Providing alternate shelter options.  Allowing a caregiver to provide services on-site.

Homeless service providers who receive federal funding and engage in discrimination against persons with disabilities would be in violation of not only both the Fair Housing Act and the ADA but Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as well.  This federal law prohibits disability-based discrimination nationwide in all programs or activities operated by recipients of federal financial assistance.

 

Section 504, with a few limited exceptions, prohibits federally-funded homeless service providers from providing, or requiring persons with disabilities to accept, accommodations that are different or separate from those offered to persons without disabilities.  Not only do Section 405 regulations mandate that programs and services be conducted in the most integrated setting appropriate, they also state that it is discriminatory for recipients of federal funding to select sites that have the purpose or effect of excluding qualified persons with disabilities from participating in or being denied the benefits of any federally-subsidized program or activity.  Section 504 regulations also require federally-funded homeless service providers to take appropriate steps to ensure effective communication with applicants, residents, and the public with communication disabilities.  Therefore, they should ensure that that their application and admission processes and the services offered are accessible to and understandable by persons with disabilities.

 

Finally, the ADA, the New York State Human Rights Law, and the New York City Human Rights Law make it unlawful to exclude from homeless shelters or any place of social service a person with a disability who is accompanied by a guide dog, hearing dog, or any other service animal, except when that animal behavior poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.  In addition, a person with a disability who is accompanied by a service animal is not required to show proof that the animal is a service animal or to give any verbal or written confirmation to establish his or her disability.

 

IF YOU SUSPECT YOU HAVE BEEN THE VICTIM OF HOUSING DISCRIMINATION, YOU CAN FILE A COMPLAINT WITH ONE OF THESE GOVERNMENT AGENCIES:

 

The New York State Division of Human Rights

One Fordham Plaza, 4th Plaza

Bronx, NY 10458

718-741-8400

Toll-free number:  1-888-392-3644

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development

26 Federal Plaza, Room 3532

New York, NY 10278

212-264-5072

Toll-free number:  1-800-496-4294

 

REFERENCES:

 

  • “Section O: Fair Housing & Civil Rights Laws,” Homelessness Resource Exchange, HUDHRE.info,
  • “Access Rights of People with Disabilities and Their Service Animals,” Lawyers with Disabilities, The Association of the Bar of the City of New York
  • “In from the Cold:  Making Homeless Shelters Accessible to People with Disabilities in the Nation’s Capital, Clearinghouse REVIEW Journal of Poverty Law and Policy, May-June 2009
  • “Homeless Service Providers and Fair Housing Compliance,” Christian McLeod, Assistant Director, Fair Housing Center of Washington

THE FAIR HOUSING ACT AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

The Fair Housing Act

 

The Fair Housing Act, as amended in 1988 – also known as the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, or FHA for short – is a federal law that prohibits discrimination nationally in all types of housing transactions on the basis of disability, among other categories.  FHA defines equal opportunity to housing as a civil right for persons with disabilities and empowers the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to enforce the law’s provisions.

 

FHA’s Definition of a Person with a Disability

 

FHA defines persons with a disability to mean those individuals with mental or physical impairments that substantially limit one or more life activities.  The term “mental or physical impairment” may include conditions such as blindness, hearing impairment, mobility impairment, HIV infection, mental retardation, alcoholism, drug addition, chronic fatigue, learning disability, head injury, and mental illness.  The term “major life activity” may include seeing, hearing, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, caring for one’s self, learning, speaking, or working.

 

FHA also protects persons who have a record of such an impairment, or are regarded as having such an impairment.  Current users of illegal controlled substances, persons convicted of illegal manufacture or distribution of a controlled substance, sex offenders, and juvenile offenders are not considered disabled under FHA.  FHA affords no protections to individuals with or without disabilities who present a direct threat to the persons or property of others.  Determining whether someone poses such a direct threat must be made on an individualized basis, however, and cannot be based on general assumptions or speculation about the nature of a disability.

 

FHA and Discrimination

 

FHA makes it unlawful everywhere in the nation to discriminate in any aspect of selling or renting housing against a buyer or renter because of the disability of: (1) that individual, (2) an individual associated with the buyer or renter (for example, an individual filling out applications for rental units is accompanied by her child with a developmental disability), or (3) an individual who intends to live in the residence that will be purchased or rented (for example, a person is a looking for a two-bedroom apartment so that he can move in with him an elderly parent who uses a wheel chair and requires around-the-clock care).

 

Housing Covered Under FHA

 

FHA covers all types of housing:  (1) housing that receives Federal assistance (for instance, HUD grants); (2) State and local government housing (for example, public housing); and (3) private housing.

 

Housing Professionals FHA Applies To

FHA applies to all individuals, groups, or other entities involved in the sale, rental, or management of housing:  landlords and property managers; real-estate agents, salespersons, mortgage and other brokers, loan officers, home sellers; homeowner and tenant associations, co-op and condo boards; housing authorities.

 

FHA’s Requirements

 

FHA establishes three sets of requirements and rights to remove physical, procedural, and policy barriers to the acquisition and full enjoyment of housing by persons with disabilities:  (1) reasonable accommodations; (2) reasonable modifications; and (3) design and construction standards.

 

FHA requires housing providers (1) to make reasonable exceptions in their policies and operations to afford people with disabilities equal housing opportunities (reasonable accommodations) and (2) to allow tenants with disabilities to make reasonable access-related modifications to their private living space, as well as to common-use spaces (reasonable modifications).

 

FHA establishes seven design and construction accessibility requirements for new multifamily housing with four or more units, whether federally funded or in the private sector, built for first occupancy after March 13, 1991:

 

  • Accessible entrance on an accessible route
  • Accessible public and common-use areas
  • Usable doors
  • Accessible route into and through the dwelling unit
  • Accessible light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats, and environmental controls
  • Reinforced walls in bathrooms
  • Usable kitchens and bathrooms

 

TO REPORT A VIOLATION OF YOUR RIGHTS UNDER THE FAIR HOUSING ACT OR TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE FHA, CONTACT HUD’S HOUSING DISCRIMINATION HOTLINE AT 1-800-669-9777(VOICE) OR 1-800-927-9275 (TTY).

 

REFERENCES:

  • “7 Design & Construction Requirements,” U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • A Guide to Disability Rights Law, U.S. Department of Justice, September 2005
  • “The Fair Housing Act,” U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section, http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/housing/housing_coverage.htm

THE RIGHTS OF APARTMENT-HUNTERS AND APPLICANTS WITH DISABILITIES

Persons with physical or mental disabilities have the civil and human right to search and apply for housing without the concern that their disability will be the deciding factor, much less play any role whatsoever, in a housing provider’s consideration of their inquiry or application.  Federal, state, and city laws prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities by housing providers – property owners, landlords, housing-management companies, co-op boards, real-estate brokers, salespersons, and real-estate boards – and their employees.  This ban equally applies to discriminatory housing policies and practices directed at apartment-hunters and applicants without disabilities who live with or are associated with individuals with disabilities, or will in the future.

 

A potent weapon in the fight against disability-based housing discrimination is New York State’s Human Rights Law.   In connection with the sale, rental, or leasing of housing, it makes it illegal:

 

  • To refuse to sell, rent, or lease housing to persons with disabilities.

 

Example:        A landlord has a policy of not renting to persons who are blind because she is concerned they will start fires when cooking or cause floods when washing dishes or bathing.

 

  • To offer different – less favorable or stricter – terms, conditions, or privileges to persons with disabilities than to persons without disabilities in the sale, rental, or leasing of housing.

 

Example:        A landlord makes the parents of children with a noticeable physical disability to agree that their children will never use the playground, laundry room, or elevator without parental supervision.

 

  • To provide different – less favorable, inferior, segregated – facilities or services to persons with disabilities in connection with the sale, rental, or leasing of housing

 

Example:        A landlord steers applicants with visual disabilities to apartments in the back of his building where there is less sunlight, believing that the sunnier apartments will better serve people who can see well.

 

  • To print or circulate a statement, advertisement, or publication in the sale, rental, or leasing of housing that expresses a limitation or specification that discriminates against persons with disabilities

 

Example:        An on-line or printed ad for an apartment says:  “Persons with mental problems or seeing-eye dogs need not apply.”

  • To use an application in the sale, rental, or leasing of housing that expresses any limitation or specification that discriminates against persons with disabilities

 

Example:        An application asks you to make a list of your disabilities or to check off from a list of disabilities.

 

  • To make any record or inquiry in connection with the prospective purchase, rental, or lease of housing accommodation that expresses any limitation or specification that discriminates against persons with disabilities

 

Example:        In asking you for more information about your background, the landlord says:  “You’re not in AA or any groups like that, are you?  People in recovery give me the willies.”

 

  • To discriminate against a sight- or hearing-impaired person because of his or her use of a guide dog, hearing dog, or service dog.

 

Example:        A landlord has a policy of turning away people with a guide dog, fearing that dog will urinate or defecate in the apartment or common areas.

 

In addition to the above restrictions, the New York State Human Rights Law makes it illegal for real estate brokers, real estate salespersons, and real estate boards and their employees:

 

  • To refuse to negotiate for the sale, rental, or leasing of housing.

 

Example:        A real estate agent refuses to negotiate for the rental of housing with a person with a disability.

 

  • To represent that housing is not available for sale, rental or lease when it is available.

 

Example:        A real estate salesperson shows housing to a person without an apparent disability but then tells a person who uses a wheel chair or is accompanied by a seeing-eye dog or a sign-language interpreter that the same housing is not available for rental.

 

NOTE:              There are only two types of housing accommodations that are exempt from the New York State Human Rights Law’s prohibition of disability-based discrimination:  rental units in two-family homes occupied by the owner, and rentals in rooming houses occupied by the owner or a member of the owner’s family.

 

 

IF YOU SUSPECT THAT YOU HAVE BEEN THE VICTIM OF HOUSING DISCRIMINATION IN VIOLATION OF THE NEW YORK STATE HUMAN RIGHTS LAW, YOU SHOULD CONTACT:

 

The New York State Division of Human Rights

One Fordham Plaza, 4th Floor, Bronx, NY 10458

718-741-8400; Toll-free number:  1-888-392-3644

SONYMA Products for First Time Homebuyers

The State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA) offers five mortgage programs as well as mortgage credit certificates, to assist first-time homebuyers with the purchase of a home in New York State.  SONYMA mortgage programs feature competitive interest rates, low down payment requirements, flexible underwriting guidelines, no prepayment penalties and down payment assistance while mortgage credit certificates feature a Federal income tax credit.  Each of these features are designed to make your home purchase more affordable. All SONYMA loans are financed through the sale of tax exempt bonds. 

Mortgage Credit Certificates
Used in conjunction with a participating lender’s fixed-rate mortgage product; provides a dollar-for-dollar tax credit equal to 20% of the borrower’s annual mortgage interest costs when filing his/her Federal income tax return.
MORTGAGE PROGRAMS: 
 
1) Homes for Veterans Program:  A program specifically designed for military veterans. Allows a qualified veteran to apply for any of the below listed SONYMA programs with more favorable terms.

2) Remodel New York:  First-time homebuyers* can buy an existing home and finance the cost of renovating it with one low, fixed rate mortgage.

3) Achieving the Dream:  Features lower interest rates than other SONYMA programs. Available to lower income first-time homebuyers.  Click the link below to learn about incentives for purchasers of newly constructed, energy efficient homes.

4) Construction Incentive Program:  First-time homebuyers* can use this program to buy a home under construction or rehabilitation. Click the link below to learn about incentives for purchasers of newly constructed, energy efficient homes.

5) Low Interest Rate Program:  SONYMA’s standard mortgage program for a first-time homebuyer* purchasing a newly constructed or existing home.

Nine Steps to Buying a home

HUD:

The mission of the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to increase homeownership, support community development and increase access to affordable housing free from discrimination. To fulfill this mission, HUD forges new partnerships–particularly with faith-based and community organizations–that leverage resources and improve HUD’s ability to be effective on the community level.

Nine Steps to Buying a Home:

If you are considering buying a home, take the time to read the nine steps to buying a home.

http://portal.hud.gov/portal/page/portal/HUD/topics/buying_a_home

Buying a home from Freddie Mac

Buying a Home from Freddie Mac:

When Freddie Mac financed homes go into foreclosure, Freddie Mac resells them to low and moderate income borrowers, marketing them through its website Homesteps.  At any time, HomeSteps has thousands of homes available for sale in neighborhoods across the United States. These include single-family homes, condominiums, townhomes and more. 

If you are considering buying a Freddie Mac owned home, take the time to research the property, the neighborhood and your financing options.  The Cooper Square Committee can direct you to housing service organizations in the community where the property is located, and they can assist you in determining whether you are qualified to buy a home, and they can help you give you tips about inspecting the property, researching the community and exploring financing options. 

www.homesteps.com/hm01_1findahome.htm

 

 

Freddie Mac

Freddie Mac:

The mission of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) is to provide liquidity, stability and affordability to the housing market.  Congress defined this mission in its 1970 charter.

Freddie Mac makes sure there’s a stable supply of money for lenders to make the loans new homebuyers need.  This gives everyone better access to homefinancing, raising the roof on homeownership opportunity in America.  Financing housing for low and moderate income families has been a key part of Freddie Mac’s business since it started.  Freddie Mac’s vision is that families must be able both to afford to purchase a home and to keep that home.  

www.freddiemac.com