Politics

Legislature crafts plan for rent stabilization option for entire state

A legislative deal on tenant protections announced Tuesday night includes an option for upstate municipalities to opt into a rent stabilization previously program previously reserved for downstate communities.

Rent stabilization, which is less strict on landlords than a system of rent control, protects tenants from sharp increases in rent, applies to buildings with six or more units that were built before 1974 and ensures tenants have rights to renew their lease.

The state’s current stabilization laws are limited to New York City and Nassau, Westchester and Rockland counties. 

Municipalities would need to meet specific statutory requirements, such as less than 5 percent vacancy in the housing stock, to opt into rent stabilization.

Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy, an Albany Democrat, was reserving final judgment Tuesday night on the measure until the actual legislative text of the deal was available. Despite her outstanding questions, she was “relieved and encouraged” by the announced deal, saying the tenant protection provisions appear better and more balanced than earlier proposals.

Fahy revealed that the final language likely won’t give full authority to a county government to run a rent control board if a municipality opts into rent stabilization.

The press release announcing the deal also promises “transformational protections for all residential tenants throughout the state,” a ban on “tenant blacklists,” limits on security deposits, creation of an unlawful eviction crime and notice before a 5 percent rent increase.
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