Rent Regulations Set to Expire Tonight; No Immediate Impact Forseen
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.