April 27, 2010

Assembly Passes Sweeping Rent Regulation Laws
Nine-bill Package Aims to Protect Tenants and Strengthen Rent Laws

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Housing Committee Chair Vito Lopez today announced the passage of a nine-bill legislative package that would repeal vacancy decontrol laws, protect tenants from unreasonable rent increases and create a system with oversight for apartment improvements.

"With the passage of this legislation, the Assembly Majority continues to lead the fight for affordable, safe housing for New York's working families," said Silver (D-Manhattan). "Particularly during these difficult economic times, it is crucial that we protect tenants and keep our hard working citizens from being priced out of their homes and the communities they serve, by preserving and expanding our rent regulation laws."

"As we face an affordable housing crisis, we must preserve as much existing affordable housing as we can while also building new units," said Lopez (D-Brooklyn). "These bills will protect tenants and help stabilize our working class neighborhoods at a time when families are bearing the brunt of this economic downturn."

The legislative package includes a measure that would limit individual apartment improvement rent increase to 1/84th the cost of the improvement (A.5316A/Silver). Currently, the increase is set at 1/40th. The bill would also establish oversight and review processes for tenants and the Division of Housing and Community Renewal.

In an effort to halt the trend of runaway rents, another measure would repeal vacancy decontrol laws that permit landlords to remove apartments from regulation by charging rents at or above $2,000 per month (A.2005/Rosenthal).

Other bills included in the package would: