Rent Regulations Set to Expire Tonight; No Immediate Impact Forseen

Community activists protested outside 83-85 Bowery in May.

Community activists protested outside 83-85 Bowery in May.

Tenant-landlord battles often play out on the streets of the Lower East Side. But today all eyes are on Albany, where the State Legislature is showing no signs of breaking an impasse over the renewal of New York City’s rent regulation law. The law expires tonight, along with the 421-a tax abatement program.

“If the rent regulations expire in New York City,” Governor Cuomo said over the weekend,  “you’d have hundreds of thousands of tenants who theoretically could see their rents rise dramatically or who could potentially face eviction.”

On Friday, the Republican-controlled Senate introduced legislation to renew rent protections for one-million NYC apartments. The proposal keeps vacancy decontrol intact, a system tenant activist and Democratic leaders have vowed to dismantle. Two weeks ago, the Democrat-controlled Assembly passed more tenant-friendly rent legislation. The governor has been trying to link passage of a new rent law with approval of an education tax credit. Yesterday, Mayor de Blasio called the standoff in Albany “outrageous” and “unacceptable.”

As the New York Times reported yesterday, lawmakers could extend rent protections on a day-to–day basis and also pass a one-year extension in the absence of a long-term deal. Tenant activists say the expiration of the current rent law would not have any immediate legal impact, but they are concerned that unscrupulous landlords might use the issue to scare tenants in rent-stabilized apartments. Harvey Epstein of the Urban Justice Center,  told the Times, “There’s no doubt that landlords use every tool available to threaten low-income tenants.” The governor and mayor have warned property owners against using these types of tactics.

 

4 comments to Rent Regulations Set to Expire Tonight; No Immediate Impact Forseen

  • aClownNamedHomey

    Goodbye the NYC we’ve known and loved…. This city is great due to it’s diversity of cultures, food, and people. This is a trend that’s occurring in our own Lower East Side. Transparency of the political system working together with greedy corporations. How’s a starving Artist, Musician, or family going to enrich the neighborhood with 5 grand rents being only option…. Hi rise on South St and Essex project will eventually portray a 5th ave shopping district and the demise of our tight knit community.

  • Francis Vetter

    Nothing for nothing, a corporation doesn’t control my rent stabilized apt, the laws do. These building owners signed into an agreement to have rent controlled apt when no one would rent them, now they want to change the rules they signed on to. they cant have it both ways. A private owner usually owns a building or apt that is rent regulated , not a corporation.

  • aClownNamedHomey

    There appeared to be little progress toward a deal on New York City’s rent control laws, the first issue legislators must address on Monday when they return for the three-day final week of the session. The laws expire at midnight Monday, along with the 421-a tax abatement program that benefits city real estate developers. Allowing either to sunset would enrage tenants as well as an influential industry.

    The lack of visible activity on these and other issues was not surprising for a Legislature that engages in such games of chicken, which often don’t resolve themselves until the deadline falls.

    Take this year’s state budget as an example: The state Senate approved the spending plan March 31 with less than an hour to spare before the start of the new fiscal year. The Assembly ran into the wee hours of April 1, technically past the deadline.

    Gov. Andrew Cuomo met with legislative leaders Thursday morning.

    “We just had a quick meeting,” Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said after the meeting, when asked if he would support a straight extension of 421-a. “There was still a bunch of items on the list. Nothing definitive, nothing concrete. I need to go talk to the conference.”

    More Information
    Does he support extenders in general?

    “There’s a whole lot of things on the table that have to be talked about before the end of session, and I want to go upstairs and talk to the conference,” Heastie said.

    Senate Republican Majority Leader John Flanagan left the governor’s office by an alternate entrance, bypassing reporters altogether.

    The rumored options for extending rent laws range from a few days to two years. A six-month extender would bring legislators back in December, and a year would mean they are discussing rent during the kickoff of the next election cycle, making it even thornier. A two-year extender would make it an issue during the New York City mayoral election, when Mayor Bill de Blasio — whom Cuomo has sparred with in recent months — is up for re-election.

    “That’s not what you do if you’re talking about good government,” one Assembly member said of the two-year option. “But if you’re talking about spiteful government, that’s what you’d do.”

    While the state’s 2 percent property tax cap was tucked into the most recent rent-control renewal in 2011, the regulations have little impact outside of New York City. But as a political football, a rent impasse through Monday night would force other issues to wait for the last 48 hours of the session. The governor and the GOP-controlled Senate want the tax cap made permanent.

    The list of top agenda items includes the Education Investment Tax Credit, which Cuomo and the Senate have pushed for but the Assembly majority remains opposed. Assembly Democrats plan to propose a boost in current state tax credits for families as a counter to Cuomo’s inclusion of tax benefits for low-income families with tuition bills in his latest version of the EITC.

  • aClownNamedHomey

    And all these suits are financially funded by these other sneaky suits to not do certain things and those people are called Lobbyist. Well, you get the picture let’s hope…… I actually support the renewal but please step out of the box. You actually think the landlords are leading the charge . They’re simply benefiting and possibly exploiting the worst case scenario.