Cooper Square Committee builds the power of tenants to prevent displacement through organizing building tenant associations, multi-building coalitions, and issue-based campaigns for legislative change.

If you are a tenant in the Lower East Side and East Village experiencing problems with your apartment or landlord, please get in touch to speak with our organizers.

Building Tenant Associations

Building Tenant Associations

At the individual building level, we work with residents to form tenant associations (TA’s) and develop shared goals and strategies. Our organizers have brought together countless TA’s to demand repairs, restored gas or electric services, rent abatements, and a halt to disruptive illegal construction.

East Village residents rally against ‘corporate takeover’ of apartments (Fox 5 NY, March 26, 2023)

Meatpacking District Tenants Rally Against Landlord For Better Repairs (October 20, 2022)

Nearly a year later, residents displaced by East Village inferno tearfully implore former landlord to aid them (The Villager, August 3, 2021)

In Battery Park City, Longtime Tenants Fight To Keep Their Affordable Apartments During The Pandemic (Gothamist, July 31, 2020)

Multi-Building Tenant Coalitions

Multi-Building Tenant Coalitions

We also organize coalitions that unite tenants in multiple buildings owned by the same landlord. These multi-building tenant coalitions are able to win even bigger victories, often pressing City and State enforcement agencies to take action against the worst acting landlords and securing multi-million-dollar fines, settlements, and even criminal penalties.

Kushner Squeezes Tenants While Lining Up for Bailout Money (The American Prospect, March 30, 2020)

Tenants Rally For Rent Protections Outside Jared Kushner’s East Village Property (Gothamist, June 7, 2019)

Landlord Steve Croman Agrees to Pay Tenants $8 Million in Settlement (The Lo Down, December 21, 2017)

New York Landlord Fined $500,000 in Tenant Harassment Probe (Wall Street Journal, September 27, 2017)

Notorious Landlord Is Sentenced to a Year in Jail (New York Times, October 7, 2017)

End Apartment Warehousing

End Apartment Warehousing

The End Apartment Warehousing (EAW) coalition advocates for safe, affordable housing on the state and local levels. We are leading the fight to end Frankensteining, a practice that combines rent-stabilized units and sets a new first rent at double or triple the amount, turning many affordable apartments unaffordable in a city where most tenants are already rent burdened. We are also pushing for city-level legislation to allow inspections of vacant units that have nuisance conditions that affect other building residents.

In Near-Daily Protests, Tenants Demand a Stop to Rent-Stabilized Apartment Vacancies (The City, November 3, 2022)

Tenants Urge State to Close the ‘Frankenstein Loophole’ That Landlords Use to Supersize Rents (The City, November 16, 2022)

Eaten alive: NYC pols, tenants rally against ‘zombie apartments’ used to circumvent rent laws (AMNY, October 31, 2022)

More than 60,000 Rent-Stabilized Apartments Are Now Vacant — and Tenant Advocates Say Landlords Are Holding Them for ‘Ransom’ (The City, October 19, 2022)

Lead Dust Free NYC

Lead Dust Free NYC (LDFNYC)

After our successful Stand for Tenant Safety campaign passed 12 bills to put a stop to “Construction as Harassment,” a vibrant coalition of tenants came together to address toxic lead exposure in buildings caused by construction dust. With a focus on city legislation, we’re organizing for legislation that protects children and adults from the lifelong effects of lead exposure in housing.

Environmental coalition offers plan to help NYC eliminate childhood lead poisoning (NYN, August 16, 2022)

As City Health Dept. Weighs New Lead Paint Standard, a Push for Stricter Enforcement (City Limits, August 16, 2022)

E. 5th St. tenants protest ‘construction as harassment,’ lead dust (The Village Sun, July 1, 2021)

Tenants Say Kushner And Other Predatory Landlords Are Choking Them With Lead Dust (Gothamist, January 7, 2019)

Local Activists Celebrate Passage of Tenant Protection Legislation (The Lo Down, September 28, 2017)

Public Bank NYC

Public Bank NYC

CSC is part of the city and state advocacy for the Public Bank NYC campaign. We want a public bank, an entity that would allow our tax dollars to be used for pro-tenant, pro-environment projects like community land trusts instead of being held by institutions that loan money to landlords that are notorious for tenant harassment and displacement.

Opinion: Public Banking is a Win for New York’s Tenants (The City, April 19, 2023)

Illegal Hotels

Illegal Hotels

As part of the city-wide Coalition Against Illegal Hotels (CAIH), CSC has helped dozens of tenants organize around the widespread conversion of residential apartments into transient, less-than-30-day short-term rentals. The lack of oversight over illegal hotels has led to serious quality of life issues for tenants living in the buildings in which they operate. These units can also draw in much more money than comparable residential units, causing secondary displacement pressure for all tenants in the neighborhood – especially those living in affordable apartments.

Housing Justice for All

Housing Justice for All

As part of the HJ4A coalition, we fought for and won broad, sweeping changes to the rent regulations that were enacted in 2019 as part of the Housing Stability and Tenant Act! Now we continue to advocate for strong renter protections such as Good Cause eviction protections, the Housing Access Voucher Program, and the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase ACT (TOPA), a bill that would give tenants the first right of refusal when a landlord sells their building.

Titans of Real Estate in ‘Shock’ Over New York Rent Law Deal (New York Times, June 12, 2019)

United for Small Business NYC

United for Small Business NYC

We co-founded United for Small Business NYC (USBnyc), a coalition of community organizations across New York City fighting to protect small businesses and non-residential tenants from the threat of displacement, with a focus on owner-operated, minority-run businesses that serve low-income and minority communities. Together with USBnyc, we helped pass the first commercial tenant anti-harassment law in 2016, advocated for the establishment of the Commercial Lease Assistance Program in 2018, and passed the city’s first vacant storefront registry in 2019. We advocated for and won $800 million in State COVID-recovery grants in 2021, and continue to fight for greater protections and support for commercial tenants.

Can NYC’s Storefront Registry Help Level the Playing Field for Embattled Commercial Tenants? (Next City, July 20, 2021)

Community groups and small businesses rally for commercial rent relief (EV Grieve, February 26, 2021)

S.O.S. campaign calls for legislation to help small businesses pay rent during pandemic (The Villager, August 2, 2020)

A Victory for Commercial Tenants (ANHD, July 15, 2019)

Expanding Community Land Trusts

Developing New Housing Using a Community Land Trust Model

Since the early 1990s, Cooper Square Committee (CSC) has sponsored the renovation of nearly two dozen low income buildings with over 350 apartments, almost all cooperative units, that sit on land owned by the Cooper Square Community Land Trust (CS CLT). In 2019, we co-founded a new land trust called This Land is Ours Community Land Trust (TLIO CLT) which is mobilizing support for our efforts to get site control of two city owned parking lots in the East Village/Lower East Side to develop over 125 low income rental apartments.

Lower East Side Organizers Look to Launch New Community Land Trusts (The Indypendent, October 21, 2022)

Community Land

New York City Community Land Initiative (NYCCLI) and the Community Land Act

Over the past decade NYCCLI has been a catalyst in expanding Community Land Trusts (CLTs) across New York City. NYCCLI engages in community education, capacity-building training, and advocacy to support CLTs and non-speculative housing models that promote development of housing and neighborhoods for and with community members not served by the private market. We’re currently fighting for the NYC Community Land Act, an urgently-needed set of bills that give CLTs and other nonprofits tools to develop and preserve permanently-affordable housing, community and commercial spaces, and other critical neighborhood spaces.