June 13, 2012

Assembly Approves Comprehensive Rent
Regulation Legislative Package

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Housing Committee Chair Vito Lopez today announced the passage of a comprehensive package of legislation to strengthen rent regulation laws and protect working families from being priced out of their homes and communities.

"A top priority of the Assembly Majority has always been ensuring that working families, children and senior citizens live with dignity and can afford to remain in their homes and in their communities," said Silver. "While we were able to make some important gains last year led by Assembly Democrats, the facts are that we are still faced with an affordable housing crisis in New York. The legislative package approved today would implement necessary policies to ensure that more New Yorkers have access to affordable and adequate housing."

As a means to preserve thousands of affordable housing units, the Assembly housing package included a bill (A.2593-A/Lopez) to limit the amount a landlord could increase rent on a vacated apartment from 20 percent to 10 percent.

"Affordable housing is an essential foundation for all New Yorkers," said Lopez. "In the Assembly, we have taken critical steps to protect the rights of tenants and homeowners, ensuring that they can remain in their homes and communities by providing rent protections and limiting owners' abilities to excessively raise rent. Tenants should not have to choose between paying their rent and paying for their medication or food."

A bill (A.2459-A/O'Donnell) included in the legislative package would preserve incentives for landlords to make improvements on their properties but ensure that rents are not raised disproportionately. The measure would require rent surcharges authorized for major capital improvements to cease when the cost of the improvement has been recovered.

In order to restore much-needed affordable housing units and make it possible for middle class families to remain in their neighborhoods, a bill (A.2430-A/Rosenthal) also included in the housing package would repeal vacancy decontrol laws that permit landlords to remove apartments from regulation by charging rent at or above $2,000 per month.

Other measures that would protect tenants from exorbitant rent increases would:

Legislative initiatives also included in the legislative package that would help to further protect tenants and homeowners would:

Maggie Russell-Ciardi, Executive Director, New York State Tenants and Neighbors Coalition, said, "As a grassroots organization that fights alongside rent regulated tenants who are struggling against harassment and against skyrocketing rents, we see it as both critical and urgent for these displacement pressures on low and moderate income New Yorkers to be addressed legislatively. We commend the Assembly for recognizing the exigency of this situation and for passing this package of bills, which we believe will help rent regulated tenants remain in their homes and communities. We now call on the Senate to pass these bills before the end of the legislative session."