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Know Your Rights
Source: CBS News
Subject: Housing & Environmental Justice
Type: Media Coverage

NYC Rent Control Law Expires After Lawmakers Engage In ‘Worst Of Political Games’

Late Wednesday night, the state Senate failed to extend the New York City rent control law until Friday, leaving more than 1 million tenants temporarily no longer protected by the 1946 law.

The surprising defeat also threatens a linked bill that would cap local property tax growth statewide.

Although a deal had been struck between the Assembly and Senate to extend the bill to Friday, Senate Democrats and Republicans got into what Democratic Sen. Diane Savino called “the worst of political games” minutes before the bill expired at midnight.

The inaction, however, likely means no immediate threat to renters.

Governor Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver seek to strengthen protections for tenants enjoying lower rent intended to help keep the middle class in the city.

Earlier Wednesday, tenants [including members of Make the Road New York] in the city were expressing concern that rent regulations could expire, and said they worried about tenant protections, reports CBS 2’s John Slattery.

“This would put seniors, low-income families at-risk for eviction,” tenant Linda Sarsour, of Bay Ridge, said.

Tenants were targeting the office of State Sen. Marty Golden, a Republican who they said has shown no interest in bolstering rent regulations.

Approximately 2.5 million New Yorkers live in rent-stabilized apartments, and they said they want stronger protections – specifically, getting rid of vacancy decontrol.

“Once a tenant reaches $2,000 in rent and leaves his apartment, the apartment is out of regulation,” tenant Tom Murata said.

That would be for tenants whose combined income exceeds $175,000. As a result, expiring leases would go to market rate.

The Rent Stabilization Association had earlier issued a statement from landlord Peter Petrov, a small building owner in the Bronx: “Vacancy and luxury decontrol is not an issue in my building or in other poor and middle class neighborhoods in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens. More restrictions would limit the ability of small building owners like me to pay our real estate taxes and water bills and make repairs. That hurts the city and our tenants,” Petrov said.

“We have taken hundreds of thousands of affordable units off the rolls and made them luxury housing,” Assembly Speaker Silver said.

Silver wants more than an extension of existing regulations, so tenants can be protected. He said that the Big Apple is increasingly becoming a city of the rich and the poor.

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