Last week we checked in on State Sen. Daniel Squadron’s Tenant Town Hall at P.S. 142. It was a followup to his annual community convention, in which local activists raise issues to be addressed by the senator in Albany during the course of the year. The evening consisted of a short panel discussion with tenant rights advocates, including representatives from the Cooper Square Committee and Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES), as well as a housing resource fair.
Members of the panel said their organizations are gearing up for next year’s big fight to strengthen New York’s rent law. The current rent regulation law will expire in June of 2015. A big priority for all of them is ending vacancy decontrol, which allows landlords to charge market rate rents for units that become vacant and in which the rent has risen to $2,500/month. Given the Republican takeover of the Senate, it’s going to be uphill fight, but the activists assembled last week are undeterred.
Squadron agreed that vacancy decontrol should be ended, but he cautioned that lawmakers who care about making New York City affordable for working class people need to be careful about doing more harm than good. “Things could get worse,” he explained, “if something else is created” that’s even worse than the current system.