At midnight tonight, two policies that protect affordable housing in New York will expire if nothing is done to revive them. State politicians and other decision-makers can't seem to agree on what to do with rent regulation laws and the 421-a tax abatement programboth of which are ultimately seen as well-intentioned policies that have backfired in some cases due to loopholes or outdatedness.
Over the past couple days, proposals for short-term extensions on both policies have emerged: In the State Assembly, speaker Carl Heastie has said he'd consider postponing the decision on rent regulation until Wednesday, which is also the last day of the legislative session. Meanwhile, several days ago, Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke in favor of a months-long extension of the 421-a program. Neither motion has gained traction at this point.
Most recently, both Mayor Bill de Blasio and Cuomo have warned landlords against trying to scare or take advantage of their tenants if the rent-regulation laws expire, which seems to offer some idea of their predictions for how the day will play out. Nonetheless, even if the laws expire, they aren't necessarily gone for good. Legislators may still vote to retroactively extend the laws, just as they did in 2011. In fact, many tenant advocates and elected officials say there is little to worry about at this point, as there are few short-term ramifications of the expiration of rent regulation policies.
Despite the two politicians' pessimism and unwillingness to compromise, de Blasio and Cuomo have made their anti-expiration stance clear. Over the weekend, de Blasio called New York without rent regulation a "nightmare" and "the end of NYC as we have known it," while Cuomo predicted "pandemonium" if no action is taken on renewing the policies. Cuomo has pledged to call legislators back into session every day until the situation is resolved. But his statements and assertiveness are met with skepticism, as both de Blasio and others continue to doubt the state government's ability to tackle the issues associated with housing policy.
Update, 6/16: The rent laws did indeed expire at midnight, but Cuomo re-emphasized that there is "no short-term emergency" to worry about at the moment. Legislators are expected to still decide on the issues of housing regulation in the upcoming days.
· Expired Rent Regulation Rules Would Cause More Anxiety Than Chaos, Officials Say [New York Times]
· Rent Regulations on New York City Apartments Expire on Monday [New York Times]
· Wright vows to hold out against rent compromise [Capital New York]
· How New York's Complex Rent Laws May Change—and Soon [Curbed]
· New York's Great 421-a Debate: The Uncertain Future of Trading Affordable Housing for Tax Breaks [Curbed]