July 20, 2016

Multi-Family Water Assistance Program On Hold


On June 22, 2016, the Manhattan Supreme Court invalidated the Water Board’s resolution approving a new rate schedule set to go into place July 1, 2016. Water and sewer rates will remain the same pending the outcome of the appeal. Therefore the proposed $183 credit for 1-3 family homeowners, and the expanded homeowner credit for low-income seniors are on hold. Unfortunately, the Multi-family Water Assistance Program, and its $250 per unit credit for regulated affordable housing, will also not be offered until the Court action is resolved.

The discounted water rate for affordable housing has been put on hold until the court case is resolved.

The lawsuit was brought forward by the Rent Stabilization Association (RSA) and NYS Supreme Court Justice Carol Edmead in her ruling prohibited the city from raising water rates 2.1% and from enacting the homeowner credit, a program for seniors,the expanded homeowner credit and Multifamily Water Assistance Program. The heart of the lawsuit was not the multifamily or low-income senior program, but the $183 credit to owners of 1-3 family homes (offsetting the 2.1% increase) while there was not a credit to owners of properties with 4 or more units. The RSA sued because they felt that landlords of larger properties would in effect be subsidizing the 1-3 family home credit. NYC DEP is appealing the ruling stating “it believes it acted in the best interest of its customers and in accordance with the law.”

The Wall Street Journal covered the issue in detail with a quote from UNHP Executive Director Jim Buckley. The Journal reports that the case may not be heard until September.

The NYC Department of Environmental Protection has provided information about the injunction and answers to water bill payments questions on their website.

Interest for the Multi-family Water Assistance Program remains high. On June 17th UNHP, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and Enterprise hosted an information workshop for over 60 affordable housing owners and managers at the Enterprise offices. HPD and DEP provided information about the program and the application process.

At this time the original website with the application is no longer available, but the information necessary to file for the program is at this link.

UNHP is continuing to prepare applications for our affiliated buildings to enter the program. We will keep people posted on the status of the program in the coming months.