With less than a week to go before the city's rent protections expire, the mood is growing more frantic in Albany. Lawmakers have yet to vote on a renewal of the critical protections, leaving hundreds of thousands of tenants in the lurch. Zack Fink filed this report.
Hundreds of tenant activists flooded into the capitol Tuesday to demand action on the city's rent protections which apply to one million apartments in New York City.
Next Monday the rent protections expire, leaving tenants potentially vulnerable. As a result the debate over the rent laws has taken on a more anxious tone.
"I am very worried. I'll be quite honest with you," says Assemblyman Keith Wright.
Tenant activists took their message to the State Senate where Republicans hold the majority.
Some Democrats say they are concerned Republicans would just allow the laws to expire next week without even taking a vote.
"We have a state Senate—Republicans—who really don't want to bend too much on this issue because it doesn't affect them. We are at the witching hour right now, and the whole world is watching," Wright says.
"Once again, we are coming down to the wire on what for many of us is the most important priority for this session. Two and half million tenants' homes are at stake," says Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh.
At least one Senate Republican says rent-protected city residents have nothing to worry about.
"I don't want anybody out there to have any fear that we are not going to do rent control. We are. The object of the game is what will the bill look like next week. That's the important date. Next week," said Sen. Martin Golden.
Lawmakers say a vote can be taken as late as Monday or Tuesday of next week to renew the rent laws, but as of now there is no agreement among the governor, the state senate and the assembly on what that legislation should look like.