Ossining board to decide future of Emergency Tenant Protection ActPosted: Updated:
A law that protects tenants at an apartment building in Ossining could soon be repealed.
The Ossining Village Board is expected to vote tonight whether or not to cut back on the Emergency Tenant Protection Act.
The act stabilizes rent for nearly 2,000 people, including seniors and those with disabilities.
Ossining Mayor Victoria Gearity is proposing to repeal ETPA from buildings with six to 20 units, and allow landlords of larger buildings to volunteer to keep ETPA.
When a municipality adopts ETPA, it means the Westchester County Rent Guidelines Board annually sets rent increase limits for that community.
Some worry it will cut a large chunk of affordable housing and that landlords will not voluntarily lend a helping hand before earning cash.
Westchester County Executive George Latimer urged the board in a letter not to take any action until the county completes a Housing Needs Assessment.
Sen. David Carlucci says he is also concerned.
"It could be the lifeline for someone, an aging person or someone with disabilities, so we just need to make extra sure that we're not leaving people behind. And by repealing ETPA, we might be doing that,” he says.
Despite months of protest and outcry at public meetings, Mayor Gearity feels she is doing what is best for the village.
"It has some benefits. It really helps us address some of the greatest downsides of ETPA in our community while addressing some of the greatest needs we have, which are folks in our community that are low income and rent-burdened,” says Gearity.
Sen. Carlucci says the ETPA is set to expire in June, and until then, state officials will be researching ways to improve the program for tenants and property owners. Despite some kinks, he says it's imperative it remains.
The Village board will vote on the measure tonight at 7:30 at Ossining Village Hall.