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NYC’s rent-stabilized tenants could get new protection from hikes tied to renovation

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A new bill is seeking to curb rent increases on tenants post major capital improvements to buildings

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A pair of Queens legislators have introduced a new bill in the state legislature that would ensure tenants in rent stabilized apartments aren’t forced to move out after major improvements to their homes. The New York Daily News first reported on the bill, which is being pushed forward by State Senator Michael Gianaris and State Assembly member Brian Barnwell.

The existing Major Capital Improvements program, which has been in place in the city since the 1970s, allows landlords to hike rents by up to 6 percent every year to recoup the cost of the work carried out on their buildings. These improvements can include adding new windows, or improving the heating system, among other major changes.

Under the proposed bill, tenants would be protected from a rent hike post-improvement, and landlords would be offered tax credits to counter the cost of construction. What’s more, the bill would allow existing tenants to have their rents rolled back to the time before the improvements were made—this would however be restricted to a 10-year limit after said improvement.

Tenant advocates argue that landlords continue to hike rents years after they have recouped costs from capital improvements, and that tenants are continually being priced out of their homes. Meanwhile a representative for the landlords and owners group, the Rent Stabilization Association, told the Daily News that the tax credits being offered to landlords as part of this new bill would never help them recoup their costs.