Legislators reach deal to protect NYC renters, tenants from rent hikes - Metro US

Legislators reach deal to protect NYC renters, tenants from rent hikes

Brownstones in Bed-Stuy.
Brownstone buildings line a street in the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY, Wednesday August 13, 2014. City Shares is an investment fund that allows small investors to access the residential real estate market in Bed Stuy and other New York neighborhoods. Photograph: Victor J. Blue

State legislators have seemingly struck a deal to enact protective measures for renters in NYC. 

The rent protection deal, which is expected to go to a vote in the Legislature this week, includes a universal rent control provision to prevent future disputes by making the tenant rules permanent and not subject to regular renewal by lawmakers. 

The current law governing rent control and rent stabilization rules protecting tenants in older, multi-unit apartment buildings in and around New York City is set to expire Saturday. The legislation spells out how much a landlord can raise the rent and also restrict evictions. 

“These reforms give New Yorkers the strongest tenant protections in history,” the Senate majority leader, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and the Assembly speaker, Carl E. Heastie, said in a joint statement published by the New York Times

“For too long, power has been tilted in favor of landlords and these measures finally restore equity and extend protections to tenants across the state.” 

The existing rent control laws, which cover roughly half of New York City renters, are celebrated by tenants, are a source of frustration for the city’s powerful real estate industry, and aid renters looking for an affordable apartment. Real estate groups are less than thrilled about the bill package. 

“This legislation fails to address the city’s housing crisis and will lead to disinvestment in the city’s private sector rental stock consigning hundreds of thousands of rent-regulated tenants to living in buildings that are likely to fall into disrepair,” Taxpayers for an Affordable New York, a coalition of four real estate groups, said in a statement. 

“This legislation will not create a single new affordable housing unit, improve the vacancy rate or improve enforcement against the few dishonest landlords who tend to dominate the headlines.” 

According to responsiblerentreform.org, the costs of owning buildings, including fixed costs such as taxes and fuel, have increased by more than twice the rate of rent increases provided by the New York City Rent Guidelines Board over the last 20 years.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called the bills “a remarkable achievement that will halt displacement, harassment and unjust evictions.” 

“The Senate and the Assembly are taking a massive step in the right direction,” campaign coordinator of Housing Justice for All Cea Weaver said

“We have a long way to go to reach a point where every tenant in New York is protected, but this is a big step forward to correct decades of injustice between tenants and landlords.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he is not interested in any debate over the new tenant laws. “There is no negotiation. I will sign the best bill they can pass,” he said.

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