Albany to Enact Sweeping Rent Reforms, and Cities Can Opt In

A prewar building in Crown Heights. Photo by Evan Daniels

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    Buoyed by freshman who pledged not to take money from the real estate lobby, Albany lawmakers said they reached a deal Tuesday to abolish rent deregulation in New York City and elsewhere. The vote will take place this week and Cuomo said he will sign it, The New York Times and other outlets reported this morning.

    The proposed legislation comes at a time of breathtaking increases in rents and property values and record high levels of homelessness in New York City.

    The deal will not usher in universal rent control, which tenant activists have championed, but will prevent units currently under rent regulation from being deregulated. It also seeks to encourage upkeep of units while discouraging fraud.

    The changes will be permanent rather than expiring every few years, and cities statewide without rent regulation will be permitted to enact their own, according to Gothamist.

    Vacancy decontrol was enacted in 1997 and allowed units that reached a maximum rent threshold or other criteria to become deregulated.

    Some other interesting tidbits:

    • The proposed law will make it more difficult for building owners to convert rentals to co-ops and condos.
    • Owner-use evictions will be reduced. Owners will be able to evict tenants and move into only one unit in a rent regulated building.

    Housing activists said the plan is a “step in the right direction.” A coalition of real estate trade groups said the proposed legislation “fails to address the city’s housing crisis and will lead to disinvestment.”

    What do you think?

    [Source: NYT | Gothamist]

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