Speaker Silver on loss of affordable housing


Renewal and strengthening of the rent laws has been in the news and Speaker Silver and Gov. Cuomo had made it clear that it is a priority in Albany. Tenants hope that a deal is done by the end of May.

From WNYC:
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has made reforming New York City's rent laws a top priority. The Assembly made the first move in what will likely be long, drawn out negotiations, approving a one house bill that Silver said will ensure that more renters can stay in their homes. He said affordable housing is "disappearing" every day.
"At least 10,000 rent-stabilized apartments are lost in the city each year," Silver said. "And that number is rising."

Silver wants to rescind what is known as "vacancy decontrol," rules passed in 1997 that allow landlords to remove apartments from rent regulations if a tenant gives up their lease and the market value rent of the unit is determined to be higher than $2000 a month.
Landlords can also reach the $2000 a month threshold by fixing up the apartment. The Assembly bill would be retroactive and would even try to gain back apartments that were lost due to vacancy decontrol after January 1, 2007.

Silver said he's counting on Governor Andrew Cuomo to help convince Republicans in the Senate to enact the reforms. Cuomo has said he backs changes to the rent laws to make it easier for tenants to remain in affordable housing.

"Fortunately, we have a governor who supports the extension and enhancement of the rent laws," said Silver, who urged Cuomo to use his "clout to bring together the relevant stakeholders."