Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Indypendent: Tenant Laws in Peril

by Steve Wishnia
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 If it’s not repealed, tenant advocates say, the supply of rent-stabilized apartments will eventually erode to a handful occupied by elderly and poor residents.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.

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