It behooves all tenants to urge their Assembly Members to tell the next Assembly Speaker - whoever it may be - that we need repeal of vacancy deregulation along with renewal of the rent laws that expire in June 2015.
Excerpt: A little-scrutinizedsectionof the criminal complaint alleges a luxury developer implicated in the Silver bribery scheme requested changes to the law. The changes were ultimately adopted.
The complaint has tenant advocates who lobbied on the bill, known as the Rent Act of 2011, wondering what really happened. For now, it's a mystery: U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara hasn't specified what change Silver made on behalf of a developer who was part of the alleged bribery scheme.
For both of the tenant-group coalitions working on the issue — the Alliance for Tenant Power and the Real Rent Reform Campaign — the top priority is repeal of the 1997 amendment that lets landlords decontrol vacant apartments if the rent can be raised to $2,500 a month or more.
That amendment has effectively created a two-tier housing system in the city, in which new arrivals face astronomical rents and no rights or security. If it’s not repealed, tenant advocates say, the supply of rent-stabilized apartments will eventually erode to a handful occupied by elderly and poor residents. Merely raising the threshold for deregulation — in 2011, the last time the laws were renewed, it was increased from $2,000 to $2,500 — would be as inadequate as putting a Band-Aid on a ruptured aorta, they say.
NY Times: "In an unusual arrangement, Mr. Silver, 70, would not permanently quit his post. Instead, he would temporarily delegate his duties as speaker to a group of senior Assembly members." NY Daily News Excerpt: A source with direct knowledge of the deal says the chamber will be run jointly by five veteran Assembly Democrats — Majority Leader Joseph Morelle (D-Rochester), Herman “Denny” Farrell (D-Manhattan), Joseph Lentol (D-Brooklyn), Cathy Nolan (D-Queens) and Carl Heastie (D-Bronx). Morelle and Farrell will head the chamber’s upcoming budget negotiations with Gov. Cuomo and the Senate, the source said.
While Cuomo did discuss investing $486 million in building new affordable housing for "vulnerable" New Yorkers, he did not discuss renewing the expiring rent laws that keep housing affordable for thousands of city residents. Tenants and tenant advocates are highly concerned about losing affordable units to destabilization.