NYC Rent Regulations Extended 5 Days as Lawmakers Leave Albany

The New York legislature agreed to extend regulations that suppress rents for two million New York City tenants five days as lawmakers left the state capital with a plan to return June 23.

The regulations expired June 15 and the extra five days is meant to give more time for negotiations. Mayor Bill de Blasio and his fellow Democrats who control the Assembly want to end a rule that allows apartments to be removed from regulation when rent tops $2,500 a month.

Governor Andrew Cuomo says he wants to either end it or “significantly” raise the limit. Republicans who control the Senate aren’t willing to end the rule, known as vacancy decontrol.

“Negotiations on a range of issues important to the people of New York State remain ongoing and are moving in a positive direction toward a resolution,” Cuomo and the legislative leaders said in a joint statement e-mailed Thursday.

The lawmakers and Cuomo also are working on extensions of a property-tax abatement for New York City developers who agree to build affordable housing and mayoral control of the city’s schools.

In a city where two-bedroom Manhattan apartments rent for an average of $5,248 a month, affordable housing has grown increasingly out of reach. De Blasio, the first Democrat to run city hall in 20 years, has put forward a plan to preserve or create 200,000 units of low-cost housing by 2025. Central to that proposal is ending vacancy decontrol.

Since 1993, when vacancy decontrol was implemented, 250,000 apartments have left the rent-stabilization program, according to city statistics based on the U.S. Census. Landlords can raise the rent as much as 20 percent when an apartment is vacated, potentially pushing it above the $2,500 threshold.

Cuomo and lawmakers have said new regulations will be back-dated to June 15. Lawmakers were scheduled to leave Albany June 17 and not return until January.

Talks over the law, which was last renewed in 2011, have been complicated by a series of corruption scandals related to New York City real estate that toppled Albany’s top two lawmakers. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver resigned from his leadership post of more than 20 years after his Jan. 22 arrest. Senator Dean Skelos stepped down last month after his arrest. Both say they’ll be exonerated.

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