Here’s What You Need To Know About The Rent Regulation Laws That Expired Monday Night & What Your Rights Are

Here’s What You Need To Know About The Rent Regulation Laws That Expired Monday Night & What Your Rights Are
rent-protest
Neighbors traveled to Albany last week to advocate for stronger rent regulations. Photo via the Flatbush Tenant Coalition

The state’s laws regulating rent increases and eviction policies for the more than two million New Yorkers who live in rent-regulated housing — including thousands of our neighbors — expired Monday night after Albany lawmakers could not reach an agreement to extend them.

The move has been met with vehement condemnation from city officials, including Mayor Bill de Blasio — who called this situation a “nightmare scenario.”

“Over two million people, who depended on affordable housing, depended on rent regulation to make sure that they and their family can stay in the neighborhood – all that is in doubt at this very moment,” de Blasio said at a press conference yesterday. “And none of us are taking it lightly because we’ve seen so much inaction from Albany lately that we have to be worried about the nightmare scenario where these laws actually lapse.”

The Assembly, which in May passed legislation strengthening the rent laws, approved a motion yesterday to extend the rent regulation laws for 48 hours to allow for more negotiation, but the Senate did not back the move. Instead, the Republican-led Senate voted yesterday to extend the rent regulation laws for another eight years, keeping both vacancy decontrol and the 421-a property tax abatement for developers. The competing legislation between the two legislative bodies caused deadlock, allowing the laws to expire.

Two area state Senators are being eyed as being major culprits in allowing the lapse: senators Marty Golden and Simcha Felder. A Daily News editorial today opines:

There should be wanted posters put up all over Brooklyn for Republican Martin Golden and Democrat Simcha Felder. The two provided the slim 32-30 margin in the Senate for what tenants’ advocates have labeled “dream legislation for landlords.”
That Senate bill not only seeks to maintain for the next eight years all existing loopholes in the rent laws that have allowed landlords to drive up rents and deregulate tens of thousands of apartments, it even proposes added restrictions on tenants.
… Senate leaders brought their bill to a vote only hours before the rent laws were set to expire, even though they knew Gov. Cuomo and the Democratic majority in the Assembly would never go along with it.
They did so after refusing a last-minute proposal from Assembly Democrats to simply extend the current law for two more days and give more time for negotiations.

So, what should you should know if you live in rent-regulated housing?

  • Your lease is still in effect and remains in effect through the term of the lease.
  • There are still laws on the books protecting you from harassment, and the city is enforcing those laws.
  • If your landlord is harassing you, withholding services, or trying to exploit any lapse in the rent regulation laws to get you to leave your apartment, you should call 311 immediately to be connected to an emergency hotline that has been set up for anyone in a rent-regulated apartment. Between the hours of 9am-8pm Monday through Friday, you’ll be able to connect to legal assistance from Legal Services NYC and the Legal Aid Society.
  • If you receive court papers or are being threatened or harassed by your landlord because the rent laws have expired, you may also call the Public Advocate’s hotline at 212-669-7250, the city Comptroller’s Community Action Center at 212-669-3916, or Borough President Eric Adams’ Constituent Assistance Center at 718-802-3777.

An expanded version of this article can be found on our sister site, Ditmas Park Corner.

With additional reporting by Ned Berke.

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