City Rent Regulations Set to Expire at Midnight

It's coming down to the wire for state lawmakers to reach an agreement on the city's current rent regulations which expire at midnight.

Almost two million New Yorkers depend on rent-stabilized apartments.  

Residents who have existing leases are protected from the expiring regulations, but those whose leases are set to expire by September 15 could be in danger. 

Landlords can not kick out residents or raise their rent right away, but these expiring laws are still leaving many people concerned.

"I've been looking to move actually in this neighborhood and the prices are a lot higher so if they don't have their regulations then I'm sure the prices in my apartment will go up a lot," said one Washington Heights resident.

State lawmakers are working today to either modify or temporarily extend the city's current rent regulations.

The Democrat-led Assembly has voted to extend rent laws by four years, and strengthen tenant protections.

The Republican-led State Senate has approved an eight-year extension.

Governor Andrew Cuomo says that plan reduces tenant protections, though. Meanwhile, he is warning landlords not to take advantage of tenants if the deadline passes.

In a letter, Cuomo is urging them to stick with the current regulations until new legislation is passed. 

He says any landlords who try to take advantage of the expired laws and raise rents to market rates will be prosecuted.

Meanwhile, more than a dozen tenants and activists rallied in the state capitol Monday as elected leaders pushed their proposals.

Protesters also held a rally outside of Cuomo's Manhattan office on Sunday demanding he do more to protect people in rent-stabilized apartments.

The lawyer for a group representing landlords and apartment managers, the Rent Stablization Association, wants everyone to know that any lapse in the regulations would have no immediate impact on tenants anywhere.

"We've had rent regulation in the city of New York for 70 years," said Mitchel Posilkin, general counsel of the Rent Stabilization Association. "Rent regulation has been here forever and it will probably be here forever not withstanding our views on the subject."

That leaves those we spoke with feeling safer but not satisfied.

"Lawmakers should think of affordable housing in NYC," said one man.

"Be mindful of the lives they're putting at risk and in jeopardy," said another man.

The city Public Advocate has set up a hotline for residents who are concerned their landlords may try to take advantage of the situation.

They are urged to call 212-669-7250.

Even though debate over the rent laws is still going on, a public hearing that assumes the laws will be renewed is scheduled for this evening in Queens.

The Rent Guidelines Board will meet at Queens Borough Hall on Queens Boulevard in Kew Gardens.

The hearing runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The board is considering increases of zero to two percent on one-year lease renewals, and .5 to 3.5 percent on two-year renewals.

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