NYS Budget Agreement Includes Some Popular and Controversial New Housing Policies

The budget includes a host of measures to enhance housing development and tenant protections in New York City, including the new 485-x tax incentive.

NYS Budget Agreement Includes Some Popular and Controversial New Housing Policies
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, New York City Mayor Eric Adams and state legislative leaders hailed the housing policy reform measures included in the New York State Fiscal Year 2025 Enacted Budget.

ALBANY—After negotiations that caused the Fiscal Year 2025 New York State Budget to be 20 days late, Gov. Kathy Hochul and state lawmakers announced on April 20 the passage and enactment of the budget that includes a host of housing policy changes and reforms. Some of these measures were praised by real estate and housing officials, while others drew the ire of industry professionals and tenant advocates.

The governor pressed lawmakers for agreement on provisions that would facilitate the construction of new housing stock to address the shortage of supply. In addition, the budget includes facets of “Good Cause Eviction” that were opposed by many real estate and landlord groups, including the New York State Association of Realtors, the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors and many others. Some of the compromises reached on Good Cause eviction in the budget were also criticized by some tenant advocacy organizations.

After the budget deal was reached, the governor and legislative leaders focused on the housing policy agreements and not on the protracted negotiations.

“Since I became governor, I've held a vision to build housing that New Yorkers desperately need, and we're celebrating this historic agreement that will transform lives and put working families first,” Gov. Hochul said. “This housing deal enacts a plan endorsed by unions and a diverse and vibrant coalition of New Yorkers to revolutionize the housing landscape and create the biggest expansion of tenant rights in New York in generations.”

New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, “The Senate Democratic Majority and our colleagues in state government entered this budget knowing it was beyond time to secure a housing deal that directly addresses the challenges families face. We understood that this would not be an easy task; however, this historic package meets the need to develop new, affordable housing, helps safeguard homeowners from foreclosures and squatting situations, and empowers tenants with strong protections like those outlined in the principles of Good Cause. It's exciting to join my fellow public servants, advocates and Labor in celebrating this milestone, but we are aware that significant work remains.”

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said, “The Assembly Majority has a long history of fighting to make safe, affordable housing accessible for New Yorkers. The provisions we pass in this budget will provide critical protections for renters and homeowners, create new housing stock and invest in affordable housing across the state with programs like the New York Housing for the Future. This new program will create affordable housing for those looking to rent as well as to become homeowners, and together with the investments made in programs like NYCHA and Mitchell Lama will help more families find safe, affordable housing.”

The budget includes a host of measures to enhance housing development and tenant protections in New York City, including the new 485-x tax incentive, a 10-year program building on the now-expired 421-a incentive program, which provides benefits for housing construction while encouraging affordability and delivering strengthened wage standards for building service and construction workers, where applicable. According to estimates, the 421-a program produced more than two-thirds of all newly constructed multifamily housing in the city in the last decade.

The budget also extends the construction deadline for projects currently vested in the expired 421-a program through 2031, ensuring thousands of previously at-risk rental units, including affordable housing, can be built. In addition, the budget establishes a new tax incentive for commercial conversion projects that include affordable housing, grants the authority to lift state restrictions on residential density in New York City for the first time since the 1960s while requiring affordability, and authorizes the city to create a pilot program to provide amnesty to existing basement and cellar apartments.

For localities outside of New York City, the budget includes an opt-in tax incentive program for mixed-income and 100% affordable new construction or conversion multifamily rental projects, and an incentive to create accessory dwelling units (ADUs). The budget also requires the State’s Fire Prevention and Building Code Council to study ways to amend the code to facilitate alternative forms of multi-family housing.

Gov. Hochul has also secured funding for a $500 million capital fund to develop up to 15,000 units of housing on state sites across New York. The Governor announced the Redevelopment of Underutilized Sites for Housing initiative in her 2024 State of the State after signing an executive order last year requiring all state agencies to examine properties within their control to determine their housing potential. Sites will become available on an individual basis as the state issues requests for proposals to develop them.

In addition, Gov. Hochul has reached an agreement to strengthen New York’s Pro-Housing Communities program by enabling the State to make the Pro-Housing Communities certification a requirement to receive up to $650 million in state discretionary funding. The Governor announced the Pro-Housing Communities Program last year as part of a package of Executive Actions to increase New York’s housing supply to recognize and reward municipalities actively working to unlock their housing potential and encourage others to follow suit. To date, 179 localities have launched applications to become Pro-Housing Communities and 49 communities have been certified.

The FY 2025 Enacted Budget will further take action to help bring vacant apartments back on the rental market by raising the cap on individual apartment improvements for rent-stabilized units. New requirements to the system will allow owners to recoup a reasonable portion of renovation costs over a 15-year period, which will help maintain the supply of safe, modernized rent-stabilized units. The Budget also provides $40 million in capital to assist in bringing back online vacant apartments in need of repair outside of New York City.

Tenant and Homeowner Protections

The budget makes annual rent increases above 10 percent or 5% plus the Consumer Price Index (whichever is lower) presumptively unreasonable to protect tenants against price gouging and strengthens legal protections for covered renters in eviction proceedings, where applicable. These protections will be mandatory in New York City; municipalities outside of New York City will have the ability to opt-in to the program. Separately, Gov. Hochul reached an agreement to reinforce existing law to make clear that squatters are not tenants, and thus are not entitled to these and other tenant protections.

Other key housing policy changes include strengthened protections for homeowners against deed theft by creating a clear definition of the crime of deed theft in the larceny statute and by limiting the ability of predatory investors to acquire interests in inherited property and to pressure homeowners into selling their family homes. To further prevent loss, the governor has introduced a Transfer on Death Deed, which will enable homeowners to be certain their home will be protected after their passing, without the necessity of drafting a formal will.

Fighting Bias and Housing Discrimination

As part of the FY 2025 Enacted Budget, the governor advanced legislation to prohibit insurance carriers from inquiring about or considering tenants' source of income, the existence of affordable dwelling units, or the receipt of governmental housing assistance in the decision to issue or continue to provide insurance for residential real property. The new legislation will help ensure affordable housing providers have access to reasonably-priced insurance, which in turn will help avoid rent increases for tenants.

The state will also establish a new enforcement unit dedicated to swift resolution of complaints about housing discrimination related to Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, helping to place impacted individuals and families in available housing to which they had been impermissibly denied access based on their vouchers.

Additional Capital Investments

The FY 2025 Enacted Budget also includes more than $600 million in capital funding to support housing statewide, including:

  • $150 million for New York Housing for the Future to subsidize construction of cooperative rental and cooperative homeownership 100% affordable housing.
  • $140 million for capital improvements of New York City Housing Authority developments.
  • $80 million for capital improvements for Mitchell-Lamas.
  • $75 million for capital improvements of public housing authorities outside of New York City.
  • $50 million for Land Banks to redevelop blighted or abandoned properties.
  • $40 million for capital awards to upgrade vacant rental units outside of New York City.
  • $40 million for Infill Housing to fund development of small homes within unused and underutilized lands with existing development patterns.
  • $10 million for capital improvements of rural housing subsidized by the Federal USDA 515 program.
  • $25.5 million in other one-time capital assistance projects.

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.

Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.

You've successfully subscribed to Real Estate In-Depth.

Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.

Success! Your billing info has been updated.

Your billing was not updated.