State Senator Marty Golden has sided with rich landlords on rent regulation against the mass of his constituents, voting to extend for eight more years current rent stablization, rent control and tax-abatement laws for landlords—in spite of the current legislation’s lack of protections for renters. Rent regulations for New York and Yonkers expired Monday night after the Democratic-controlled Assembly refused to accept the extension, holding out for reform legislation with greater tenant protections.
The biggest sticking point is vacancy decontrol. Current legislation allows landlords to remove apartments from the rent stablization system any time they become vacant, or when the rent exceeds $2,500. Tenant groups and Public Advocate Letitia James have noted numerous egregious cases of landlords harassing tenants in order to drive them out of rent-stablizied apartments so they can jack up the rent. Proposed legislation would end vacancy decontrol and raise the limit to $2,700 before units are priced out of the system.
In a closely-related issue, 421-a tax abatements were extended in the Republican legislation, continuing give-backs to developers who agree to set aside 20 percent of new units for affordable housing. The Democratic caucus and Mayor de Blasio are holding out to raise the number of affordable units to 25 or 30 percent. Senator Golden notoriously signed legislation that allowed a 421-a tax abatement for the super-luxury building at One 57th Street and four other sites in Manhattan. The narrowly targeted tax break Golden supported resulted in a savings of $272,000 to the owner of the penthouse unit at One57 alone.
Mayor DiBlasio, Governor Cuomo and virtually all State Senate and Assembly Democrats contend that the current rent-regulation system exacerbates economic inequality in the city, which according to the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey is already the worst in the nation.
Senator Golden’s district is estimated to contain 36,000 rent-stabilized units, all of whose residents are in danger of losing their apartments thanks to Senator Golden’s intransigence. Where would all these residents go to live? I don’t know. Maybe the Senator has a plan. Why not call him and ask? You can reach his local office, 7408 Fifth Avenue, at (718) 238-6044, or his Albany office at (518) 455-2730.
This post has been updated to distinguish between different types of rent regulation. Find out the difference between rent control and rent stabilization here.
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