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Assembly to Tackle Rent Laws
April 11th, 2011

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver hasn’t wasted much time since the budget passed to get to work on another one of his conference’s major concerns:renewing and strengthening rent regulations. The Assembly is expected to pass a bill later this evening that according to Silver’s office would:

“-Repeal vacancy decontrol, which permits landlords to remove apartments from regulation by charging rents at or above $2,000 a month
-Reduce allowable rent increases after a landlord makes individual apartment improvements from 1/40th to 1/60th the cost of the improvement
-Cap the amount that can be collected for a major capital improvement to the actual cost of the improvement
-Bring certain units that were deregulated due to vacancy decontrol on or after Jan. 1, 2007, under the protection of rent regulation
-Cut in half the percentage increase by which a landlord can raise rents after a vacancy
-Increase the high income and high rent deregulation thresholds to $300,000 and $3,000 respectively
-Permit NYC to strengthen rent protections beyond what the state allows”

Tenant advocates hoped that these reforms would be part of a budget deal and put considerable lobbying energy into achieving that. Now that the budget is passed they are concerned the Assembly does not have the leverage by itself to strengthen the rent laws. They say they expect Senate Republicans to wait till as close to the the June 15 deadline as they can and then introduce legislation that weakens the rent laws. The Senate Republicans received major financial backing from the real estate industry last fall. Senate Republicans say they plan on taking up rent law renewal but want the Assembly to pass a property tax cap before they address rents laws.

Dan Cantor of the Working Families Party released this statement supporting the legislation and putting pressure on the Republican-controlled Senate to take similar action:

Todays forthcoming Assembly vote to extend and strengthen rent regulation laws is the first step in guaranteeing housing security to millions of working and middle-class New Yorkers. We thank Speaker Silver and Chairman Lopez for their leadership today.

In a time of stagnating wages and job insecurity, the government has an obligation to make sure it doesnt make a difficult situation even more perilous for struggling families. Failure to strengthen and extend the rent laws would indeed put many hardworking and vulnerable New Yorkers in peril, with thousands of affordable housing units at risk for destabilization.

With the Assemblys action today, the Governors support, and a majority of both Democratic and Republican voters in favor,* we are confident that the Senate leadership will agree to strengthen the law and protect renters.

By on April 11, 2011, 5:01 pm
In category: Albany,Eye on Albany,Housing | 3 Comments »

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