Mayor Sounds Alarm Over Impending Expiration of Rent Protections

The fast-approaching rent regulations deadline has Mayor Bill de Blasio up in arms. He is urging Albany lawmakers to act—and act fast—because he says he is worried some landlords will try to capitalize on the situation and create problems for rent-regulated tenants. NY1's Grace Rauh filed this report.

When a significant storm is heading to the city, the mayor and top aides will assemble to tell the public how to prepare and how to get help. On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio did just that, but in preparation for what he views as a man-made disaster, not a natural one: the expiration of the city's rent regulations.

"We have not had a disaster that directly and immediately affected over two million people," said de Blasio. "This is an entirely different magnitude, and that’s what’s so troubling about the whole situation."

About one million city apartments are rent regulated. The mayor said should the rent laws indeed expire, rental agreements would continue uninterrupted through the duration of a lease. Despite that he is worried. 

"I deeply fear some landlords will portray the opposite to tenants and suggest that their lease is suddenly void," said de Blasio. "If a landlord is harassing tenants and breaking the law you have everything from the opportunity to get them fined to even the potential of criminal charges."

The mayor said Albany lawmakers need to not only extend the rent laws, but make them stronger.

"I think the bottom line is it’s time to get the job done," said de Blasio. "This is not a news flash that this deadline was coming up tonight. They’ve been up in Albany for months — the legislature, and the governor — they’ve had plenty of time to work on these issues. It’s time to fix the problem."

Rent regulations have expired before, most recently in 2011. The extension applied retroactively.

While there has been a rush here in the city to help tenants concerned about the possible expiration of rent regulations, it's not clear that all elected officials are on the same page. The mayor is directing New Yorkers to call 311 with their questions. The city's public advocate, meanwhile, has set up her own separate hotline.

The mayor insists that having two hotlines is a good thing. 

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