New York legislative leaders reached a deal on Tuesday night on a watershed rent regulations bill that would increase protections for tenants both in New York City and elsewhere around the state.
The package would include some of the strongest rent protections in the country. The bill, set to be voted on this week with the promise of a signature from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, would “abolish rules that let building owners deregulate apartments, close a series of loopholes that permit them to raise rents and allow some tenant protections to expand statewide,” according to the New York Times. The package would also make this round of rent regulations permanent; currently, they expire every few years.
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said in a joint statement that the new regulations “give New Yorkers the strongest tenant protections in history,” adding, “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.”
Real estate groups and landlords, you can imagine, are less than thrilled, and called on Cuomo—who’s taken hundreds of thousands in contributions from the industry, but who said he’d sign “the best bill they can pass”—to veto the bill.
“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,” real estate coalition Taxpayers for an Affordable New York said in a statement. “It is now up to the governor to reject this deal in favor of responsible rent reform that protects tenants, property owners, building contractors and our communities.”
Housing justice advocates celebrated the package. “Housing Justice for All is proud to stand with the State Legislature as it takes meaningful steps forward to end tenant harassment, displacement, destabilization due to rising rents,” the Housing Justice for All coalition’s campaign coordinator Cea Weaver said in a statement posted to Twitter. “This bill is affirmation of the strength of the statewide movement we are building together.”
However, others noted that some crucial protections that tenants groups had pushed for remained unaddressed.
Weaver called it a “partial victory,” and added that “we have a long way to go until every tenant in the state can live free from the fear of a rent hike or an eviction.”