Establishes the bureau of the senior tenants' advocate within the state office for the aging; provides that the senior tenants' advocate shall assist senior citizen tenants in resolving complaints they may have with the New York state division of housing and community renewal, landlord disputes, rent increases, and other housing related matters; provides that the governor shall appoint the senior tenants' advocate to a term of four years.
TITLE OF BILL: REVISED 12/30/11 An act to amend the elder law, in relation to establishing the bureau of the senior tenants' advocate in the state office for the aging
PURPOSE: Establishes the bureau of the senior tenants' advocate in the state office for the aging that will take in complaints from senior tenants and refer those complaints to the agency or agencies
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 Amends the Elder Law by adding a new section 224. Creates within the State Office for the Aging, a Bureau of the Senior Tenant Advocate for the purpose of assisting senior citizen tenants in resolving complaints they may have with the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal, landlord disputes, rent increases and other housing related matters.
Provides for the governor to appoint a state senior tenants' advocate.
Establishes requirements for the hiring and specifies the duties of the senior tenants' advocate.
Provides a process for the review of complaints submitted to the senior tenants' advocate.
Requires the senior tenants' advocate to maintain records as determined by the office for the aging.
Prohibits retaliatory discrimination against tenants who have brought any complaint to the state senior tenants' advocate for referral.
Authorizes the director of the state office for the aging to promulgate regulations to implement these provisions.
Requires the state senior tenants' advocate to submit an annual report to the governor, temporary president of the Senate, Speaker of the Assembly and the director of the Office for the Aging, by the State Senior tenants Advocate.
Specifies that such report will be made available to the public and include the following: a description of the activities carried out by the Bureau, analyzed data relating to complaints for the purpose of identifying and resolving recurring problems, and recommendations for the creation of appropriate state legislation and other actions to preserve and promote the rights of senior citizen tenants. The report will also include recommendations for the improvement of public awareness of senior citizen tenants rights and availability of public assistance programs to senior citizen tenants and other matters that the senior tenants advocate determine to be appropriate.
Section 2 - Effective Date
JUSTIFICATION: This legislation will create within the New York State Department for the Aging, a Bureau, whose sole purpose will be to protect the rights of senior citizen tenants. The Bureau will also provide a place where these individuals may submit any housing complaint and obtain immediate action. The Bureau of the Senior Tenant Advocate will also ensure that senior citizen tenants are afforded all the necessary information required to navigate through the New York City's housing market.
Senior citizens are at a higher risk to become victims of dishonorable conduct by various housing entities including, but limited to, landlords and other tenants. This legislation will provide a venue of protection for these individuals.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2011: S.303 - Reported and Committed to Finance/A.1176 - Reported Referred to Ways and Means 2009-10: S.1556A - Amend and Recommit to Finance/A.8966A - Reported, Referred to Ways and Means 2007-08: S.777 - Referred to Aging/A.3077 - Reported, Referred to Codes
EFFECTIVE DATE: On the one hundred eightieth day after it shall have become law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 303 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 5, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sen. DIAZ -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Aging AN ACT to amend the elder law, in relation to establishing the bureau of the senior tenants' advocate in the state office for the aging THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The elder law is amended by adding a new section 224 to read as follows: S 224. SENIOR TENANTS' ADVOCATE. 1. BUREAU ESTABLISHED. THERE IS HERE- BY ESTABLISHED WITHIN THE OFFICE FOR THE AGING A BUREAU OF THE SENIOR TENANTS' ADVOCATE FOR THE PURPOSE OF ASSISTING SENIOR TENANTS IN RESOLV- ING COMPLAINTS THEY MAY HAVE WITH THE NEW YORK STATE DIVISION OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY RENEWAL, LANDLORD DISPUTES, RENT INCREASES, AND OTHER HOUSING RELATED MATTERS. 2. APPOINTMENT OF SENIOR TENANTS' ADVOCATE. THE GOVERNOR SHALL APPOINT A STATE SENIOR TENANTS' ADVOCATE TO ADMINISTER AND SUPERVISE THE BUREAU OF THE SENIOR TENANTS' ADVOCATE. THE SENIOR TENANTS' ADVOCATE SHALL: (A) BE AN EMPLOYEE OF THE OFFICE FOR THE AGING; (B) BE SELECTED FROM AMONG INDIVIDUALS WITH EXPERTISE AND EXPERIENCE IN LANDLORD AND TENANT LAW AND WITH OTHER QUALIFICATIONS APPROPRIATE FOR THE POSITION; (C) HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO APPOINT ONE OR MORE AUTHORIZED REPRESEN- TATIVES TO ASSIST THE SENIOR TENANTS' ADVOCATE IN THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS OR HER DUTIES UNDER THIS SECTION AND, IF NECESSARY, PERFORM THE DUTIES OF THE SENIOR TENANTS' ADVOCATE ON HIS OR HER BEHALF; AND (D) REPORT DIRECTLY TO THE DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE FOR THE AGING. 3. DUTIES OF THE SENIOR TENANTS' ADVOCATE. THE SENIOR TENANTS' ADVO- CATE SHALL: (A) IDENTIFY AND ASSIST IN THE RESOLUTION OF COMPLAINTS THAT ARE MADE BY, OR ON BEHALF OF, SENIOR TENANTS IN THIS STATE AND THAT RELATE TOEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD02202-01-1 S. 303 2
ACTIONS, INACTIONS, OR DECISIONS THAT MAY ADVERSELY AFFECT THE HOUSING AND RESIDENCY RIGHTS OF SUCH SENIOR TENANTS, IN ACCORDANCE WITH PROCE- DURES ESTABLISHED BY THE SENIOR TENANTS' ADVOCATE BY MAKING REFERRALS TO THE APPROPRIATE AGENCY OR AGENCIES THAT MAY BEST ADDRESS THE COMPLAINTS OF THE SENIOR CITIZEN TENANTS; (B) PROVIDE INFORMATION REGARDING PROGRAMS AND AGENCIES THAT CAN ASSIST SENIOR TENANTS IN RESOLVING THEIR COMPLAINTS; (C) ANALYZE AND MONITOR THE DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF FEDERAL, STATE, AND LOCAL LAWS, REGULATIONS, OR POLICIES WITH RESPECT TO THE ADEQUACY OF HOUSING MATTERS FOR SENIOR TENANTS WITHIN THE STATE; AND (D) CARRY OUT SUCH OTHER ACTIVITIES AS THE SENIOR TENANTS' ADVOCATE DETERMINES TO BE APPROPRIATE PURSUANT TO PERTINENT STATE LAWS AND REGU- LATIONS. 4. REVIEW OF COMPLAINT. UPON RECEIPT OF A COMPLAINT, THE SENIOR TENANTS' ADVOCATE SHALL DETERMINE IMMEDIATELY WHICH AGENCY WOULD BE MOST APPROPRIATE FOR THE PURPOSES OF FORWARDING SUCH COMPLAINT. THE SENIOR TENANTS' ADVOCATE SHALL THEN FORWARD THE COMPLAINT AND INFORM THE TENANT MAKING THE COMPLAINT WHERE HIS OR HER COMPLAINT WAS FORWARDED. 5. RECORDS. THE SENIOR TENANTS' ADVOCATE SHALL MAINTAIN SUCH RECORDS AS ARE DETERMINED NECESSARY BY THE OFFICE FOR THE AGING. ANY STATE AGEN- CY RECEIVING A COMPLAINT PURSUANT TO THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL PROVIDE THE SENIOR TENANTS' ADVOCATE WITH WRITTEN NOTICE OF THE RECEIPT OF SUCH COMPLAINT. 6. RETALIATORY DISCRIMINATION PROHIBITED. NO PERSON SHALL DISCRIMINATE AGAINST ANY TENANT BECAUSE SUCH TENANT, OR ANY PERSON ACTING ON BEHALF OF SUCH TENANT, HAS BROUGHT OR CAUSED TO BE BROUGHT ANY COMPLAINT TO THE SENIOR TENANTS' ADVOCATE FOR REFERRAL, OR AGAINST ANY OTHER PERSON WHO HAS GIVEN OR PROVIDED OR IS TO GIVE OR PROVIDE ANY STATEMENTS, TESTIMO- NY, OTHER EVIDENCE, OR COOPERATION IN CONNECTION WITH ANY SUCH COMPLAINT. 7. REGULATIONS. THE DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE FOR THE AGING IS AUTHORIZED TO PROMULGATE REGULATIONS TO IMPLEMENT THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION. 8. ANNUAL REPORT. THE STATE SENIOR TENANTS' ADVOCATE SHALL SUBMIT AN ANNUAL REPORT TO THE GOVERNOR, THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, THE SPEAKER OF THE ASSEMBLY, AND THE DIRECTOR, AND MAKE SUCH REPORT AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC. SUCH REPORT SHALL: (A) DESCRIBE THE ACTIVITIES CARRIED OUT BY THE BUREAU OF THE SENIOR TENANTS' ADVOCATE DURING THE PRIOR CALENDAR YEAR; (B) CONTAIN AND ANALYZE DATA RELATING TO COMPLAINTS CONCERNING RESI- DENTIAL HOUSING FOR SENIOR CITIZEN TENANTS, FOR THE PURPOSE OF IDENTIFY- ING AND RESOLVING RECURRING PROBLEMS; (C) EVALUATE THE PROBLEMS EXPERIENCED BY, AND THE COMPLAINTS MADE BY OR ON BEHALF OF, SENIOR CITIZEN TENANTS; (D) CONTAIN RECOMMENDATIONS FOR: (I) APPROPRIATE STATE LEGISLATION, RULES AND REGULATIONS AND OTHER ACTION TO PRESERVE AND PROMOTE THE RIGHTS OF SENIOR CITIZEN TENANTS; AND (II) IMPROVING PUBLIC AWARENESS OF SENIOR CITIZEN TENANTS' RIGHTS, AND AVAILABILITY OF PUBLIC ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS TO SENIOR CITIZEN TENANTS; AND (E) ANY OTHER MATTERS THAT THE SENIOR TENANTS' ADVOCATE DETERMINES TO BE APPROPRIATE. S 2. This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after it shall have become a law; provided, however, that any rules or regu- lations necessary for the timely implementation of the provisions of this act on its effective date shall be promulgated on or before such date.