What Should Tenants Make of
Gov. Cuomo's Statement on Rent Laws?
Governor Cuomo finally broke his near-silence on rent regulations this week when he released a two-minute online video about the issue - which must be resolved before the laws expire on June 15. Watch Cuomo's video here.
The good news: Cuomo is not threatening to let rent regulations expire entirely on June 15. Also, he acknowledged that deregulation has decreased the availability of affordable housing - an obvious point, but one that many elected officials (such as Mayor Bloomberg) either refuse to admit or dispute entirely.
The cause for concern: Cuomo could have called for the end of all forms of deregulation, but he chose not to. We're left to wonder what he means when he says that we should "strengthen" the laws. The biggest impact would come from ending vacancy destabilization and protecting tenants in former Mitchell-Lama and project-based Section 8 buildings.
Some landlord-backed measures, however, are being sold as pro-tenant measures to the media. One proposal being touted as a "strengthening" amendment would raise the amount at which apartments can be deregulated - from $2,000 to a higher amount, such as $3,000. This sounds at first like a step forward, but it could be a setback. Doing this may do more to halt the movement to end deregulation than to halt the loss of affordable housing. (For a longer analysis, see "With Rent Laws Expiring, the Showdown Is Over Deregulation" in the may issue of Met Council on Housing's newspaper, Tenant/Inquilino.)
It's good that Cuomo isn't gunning to end rent regulations in 2011, but until we fix our laws and stop the destruction of the system through deregulation, we are still in a fight for the future of affordable housing in New York City. We can't afford to let our rent-regulated housing dwindle each year!
Keep the calls going to Cuomo!
Call 212-681-4580 and say:
"Renewing the rent regulation laws just for the people who have them isn't enough.
End deregulation! Protect all tenants!"