The Mayor and City Council are facing off over housing regulations that could lower barriers to low-income tenants receiving federal housing vouchers to subsidize their rents. The City Council is attempting to pass a law which would make it harder for landlords to refuse Section 8 tenants, but Mayor Bloomberg just vetoed the Council-passed law.
The vouchers fall under the law known as Section 8, which many landlords prefer not to get involved with, citing the bureaucratic difficulties of dealing with the federal government. Section 8 vouchers, primarily used by low-income black and Hispanic tenants, are increasingly popular as gentrification throughout the City is pushing the cost of housing out of the reach of many residents. In fact, many popular real estate advertising sites like craigslist.com include phrases that specify "No Section 8" requirements for prospective tenants and one Staten Island man, angry property he bought would be landmarked, taunted neighbors by spray painting "Section 8 Coming" on it.
The bill was passed 39-8, but Mayor Bloomberg believes the Council has its priorities backwards, claiming burden of making housing Section 8 tenants more attractive to landlords should fall on the federal government instead of property owners.
An override of the Mayor's veto only needs 34 votes - and Council Speaker Christine Quinn has a perfect record in overturning Bloomberg's vetoes. Still, the laws that get passed despite his vetoes tend to simply be ignored by the Mayor, like not allowing cellphones in schools.