In his 2019 State of the State address, Governor Cuomo promised to protect New York City’s rent regulated tenants by eliminating vacancy decontrol, closing the preferential rent loophole, limiting apartment and building improvement charges, and increasing funding for HCR’s Tenant Protection Unit.
The Community Service Society (CSS) supports the Governor’s commitment to strengthen the rent laws in 2019. New Yorkers understand the importance of rent regulation: CSS’s annual survey of city residents found overwhelming public support for stronger rent laws.
We have already lost over 290,000 apartments to vacancy deregulation since 1994 and cannot afford to lose additional units. By closing the preferential rent loophole, 266,000 households who currently have preferential rents will have access to the same protections and sense of stability as all other rent stabilized tenants.
As the Governor’s plan comes into focus over the coming weeks, CSS has outlined 2019 policy recommendations for the State in Rent Regulation in New York City: How it works, what went wrong, and how to fix it. One important loophole excluded from the Governor’s message is the vacancy bonus, which CSS has previously found to be the source 49 percent of total rent increases above inflation. In addition, to extend renter protections to unregulated and month-to-month tenants in both New York City and across the state, the legislature should pass a law preventing landlords from evicting tenants or denying lease renewals except where they have a just cause to do so. With growing rents in cities and suburbs across the state, the legislature should also remove geographic restrictions in the 1974 Emergency Tenant Protection Act (ETPA), to give all New York State municipalities the choice to opt in to rent regulation.