August 15, 2007

Hon. Shaun Donovan
NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development
100 Gold Street
New York, NY 10038

Hon. Martha E. Stark, Esq.
NYC Department of Finance
66 John Street, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10038

Dear Commissioners Donovan and Stark:

As public officials representing thousands of Section 8 voucher holders, we are writing to request that you compile and publicize a list of all buildings that are receiving J-51 tax abatements in New York City. This information is critical to tenants who hold Section 8 vouchers and are in search of available apartments.

As you may already be aware, subdivision (k) of Section 11-243 of the Administrative Code states that if a landlord is receiving a J-51 tax abatement, it must accept a tenant's Section 8 benefits. Most recently, the New York State Court of Appeals upheld the J-51 law in Rosario v. Diagonal Realty.

Since a growing number of landlords are opting out of the Section 8 program, tenants face increasing difficulty in finding buildings where they can use their vouchers. With the City currently awarding thousands of new vouchers to low-income residents, this process will inevitably become even more difficult for apartment seekers. In addition, there will likely be a number of tenants who are residing in buildings that currently receive the tax abatement, and would like to use their newly acquired Section 8 voucher to subsidize the rent in their current apartment. Therefore, a list of buildings that are required to accept the benefit as a result of their participation in the J-51 program will provide Section 8 recipients with much-needed information to locate available units.

To date, the City has never compiled and distributed a list of J-51 buildings, which includes over 700,000 apartments, to Section 8 recipients. This public information should be widely publicized to those who have received a Section 8 voucher and are looking for housing where they may use the voucher, and we urge your agencies to work collaboratively to make this happen.

We look forward to your reply and to working with you to serve the residents of New York City. If you need additional information or have further questions regarding the content of this letter, please contact Michael Meade in New York State Senator Eric Schneiderman's office at (212) 928-5578, Colin Casey in New York State Senator Tom Duane's office at (212) 633-8052, or Sarra Hale-Stern in New York State Senator Liz Krueger's office at (212) 490-9535.

Thank you for your attention to this crucial matter.


Thomas K. Duane
State Senator
29th Senate District

Liz Krueger
State Senator
26th District

Eric T. Schneiderman
State Senator
31st District

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