Regulations controlling the price of rent for many New York apartments were set to expire on Monday without renewed legislation from state lawmakers. The expired regulations control how much landlords can charge for rent for roughly 1 million apartments in New York City, the New York Times reported.
The law's expiration comes amid a battle in the New York Legislature over the legislation, with the Democrat-controlled Assembly pushing for an extension of rent-stabilized apartments along with increased regulation to keep market rates down for the city's rent. The Republican-controlled state Senate wants to extend the law for just eight years and to allow landlords to escape regulation once an apartment becomes vacant or the rent surpasses $2,500, the Times said.
"This is just unacceptable," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday at the National Puerto Rican Day Parade in Manhattan, WCBS, New York, reported. "There's over 2 million New Yorkers who who woke up this morning not knowing what was going to happen to their future because Albany is not acting."
Last month the state Assembly voted to extend the rent stabilization law for four years and to make it more difficult for landlords to increase rent on vacant units, but the Senate refused to go along. At a protest outside of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office Sunday, Upper West Side resident Anne Perryman told WCBS the rent stabilization laws "gave us the life we wanted to live," and she said she "thinks it's a shame that other people who are like us, that they can't live in this city." Perryman currently pays about $2,000 a month for her two-bedroom apartment, but she would have to leave if prices were increased.
Despite the fear of increased rents, actual consequences of the law's expiration remain unlikely as lawmakers can extend the rent regulation on a day-by-day basis until a full decision can be reached. Legislators could also pass a retroactive extension to cover any time should rent regulations expire. While landlords would not be able to raise rent prices immediately, lawmakers are concerned they might exploit confusion around the deadline to push tenants out, the Times said.
Ilana Maier, a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Housing Council, an advocacy group for New York City tenants, told the Times: "The fear is not that tenants will immediately lose their legal rights" for rent-controlled housing, but rather that "landlords will take advantage of the confusion and anxiety around the expiration of the rent laws to further harass rent-regulated tenants."