New York’s Democrat-controlled state legislature reached an agreement to roll-out a package of tenant protections and rent regulations.
The legislation aims to stabilize rent and make housing more affordable and equally accessible for New Yorkers. The agreement would decrease the number of apartments that are removed from rent stabilization programs each year and eliminates the “vacancy bonus” provision through which landlords have been able to raise rents by as much as 20 percent each time a unit becomes vacant.
Though the majority of rent stabilization programs exist in New York City, the legislation applies to all cities and towns in the state, which would be empowered to issue their own regulations.
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie applauded the new legislation:
These reforms give New Yorkers the strongest tenant protections in history. 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. These reforms will pass both legislative houses and we are hopeful that the Governor will sign them into law. It is the right thing to do.
The legislation has been sharply criticized by the real estate industry. In a statement, Real Estate Board of New York President John Bank called the proposal “a disaster for the City’s future,” stating that “[t]he end result will be that the City’s housing crisis will get worse, with higher vacancy rates, less affordable housing and little relief for those New Yorkers who need the most help paying the rent.”