In what the Daily News is calling "the most sweeping expansion of tenant protections in decades," Mayor Bill de Blasio just announced a a three-pronged plan to strengthen rent-regulation laws in New York City. The proposal comes ahead of June 15, when rent laws come up for renewal in the state legislature. The gist is as follows: to ensure affordable housing sticks around in an increasingly unaffordable city, de Blasio wants to make it more difficult for landlords to raise rents and impose other fees on stabilized or controlled residents. "This has to be a city for everyone. It cannot just be a city of luxury apartments out of everyday New Yorkers' reach," he said in a statement. (Try telling that to these blockbuster listings above the "new normal" of $35M and foreigners who use condo towers as sky-high safety deposit boxes and escapes from scuffles abroad, but we digress.)
As per de Blasio's announcement this morning, the three ways to protect rent-regulated tenants are:
1) The City is calling for the elimination of vacancy decontrol. Currently, a vacant apartment with a rent of $2,500 per month may be deregulated. 2) The City is calling for eliminating the 20 percent increase in monthly rent when tenants vacate an apartment. This allowance has created strong incentives for bad actors to pressure tenants out of their homes in the hopes of faster-rising rents. 3) The City is calling for the current permanent rent increases for building-wide or individual apartments to be made temporary. Costs from increased services or improvements to individual apartments would be spread over 10 years, while building-wide or system improvements could be spread over 7 years. Long-term rent would be unaffected, and would reset after the fixed period. Overall, the rent is just too damn high, and BdB wants to do something about it. The next step? Getting elected officials to agree before June 15. Because, as per the statement from the mayor's office, "If nothing is done to strengthen rent laws before they expire on June 15, tens of thousands more apartments will be converted to market rents in the years ahead and entire neighborhoods could be rendered unaffordable." Dire-sounding and perhaps a tad hyperbolic, but you know, not so unrealistic.
· EXCLUSIVE: Bill de Blasio will propose sweeping changes to rent laws to protect tenants [NYDN]
· Lifestyles of the Rent-Stabilized archive [Curbed]
· All Affordable Housing coverage [Curbed]