Electeds push for reform, March 10, 2011



Movement for Stronger Rent Laws Gains Momentum as City Leaders
Call on Albany to Renew and Strengthen Rent Laws


CONTACT: Doug Forand, (917) 733-2763 / Mary Tek (212) 608-4320, ext. 316

The public pressure to renew and strengthen state rent laws grew today as New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz called on leaders in Albany to stand up for middle class families by strengthening state rent laws. At a rally today, the city leaders were joined by tenants and members of New York City Council’s progressive caucus, including Members Melissa Mark-Viverito, Danny Dromm, and Dan Garodnick.

“Far too many working and middle class families are getting priced out of their apartments, as every year our city becomes less affordable,” said NYC Advocate Bill de Blasio. “Unless we act now to renew and strengthen our rent laws, New York City will transformed into a place where only the privileged few can afford to live and support a family.”

“We cannot permit this dangerous situation to continue,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said. “Government has the responsibility to monitor vital and important public welfare issues such as affordable housing - including rent-regulations. The city, state and federal government should not allow New York City’s supply of affordable, safe and decent housing to deteriorate and be eliminated and therefore has the obligation to preserve and retain existing affordable rent-regulated housing units as well as develop and create additional affordable housing. The city should exercise its right to determine fair and affordable increases for rent and the city and state should enact stronger legislation that protect all rent-regulated tenants’ rights.”

“There is almost no issue more local than housing,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. “We must renew the Emergency Tenant Protection Act and not only keep New York State rent regulation laws intact, but also make sure that they are not watered down by the Republican State Senate. This is about keeping New York a vibrant, livable city for hundreds of thousands of hard-working residents. Two Thousand dollars a month might be a luxury rent upstate but, like it or not, that hasn’t been a luxury number in the city for years.”

With state rent protections set to expire on June 15th of this year, more than 1 million tenants in stabilized apartments could lose vital rent protections. The Real Rent Reform campaign is urging the governor and legislature not only to renew protections, but to strengthen these laws by ending vacancy destabilization, which has made the city housing crisis even worse. Since vacancy destabilization was adopted, some 300,000 affordable apartments have become destabilized, eroding the affordable housing stock.

The city leaders rally was part of a statewide effort by R3 to give tenants a voice as politicians in Albany consider renewal of the state rent laws.