Saturday, June 6, 2015

Gov. Cuomo supports repeal of vacancy deregulation (probably)

In a NY Daily News op-ed piece, Governor Andrew Cuomo just came out in support of repealing vacancy regulation - with the unfortunate alternative of just raising the rent at which vacant apartments may be de-regulated.  (See his immediately prior position.) 

Encourage him to deliver on the repeal and the other points he has acknowledged are necessary.  Then read the statement below from the Real Rent Reform Campaign.


Today’s proposal from Governor Cuomo is the first time we have seen him fully

embrace policies that would permanently protect the working families who depend

on rent regulations in New York City and the downstate suburbs.  

His support is welcome and obviously critical, but we must also recognize we would

not be at this point without the work of countless tenants and tenant advocates who

put pressure on the Governor; Speaker Carl Heastie’s strong leadership on this

issue, Mayor de Blasio’s advocacy for improving our rent laws, and the courage of

those State Legislators and City Council Members who chose to get arrested this

past week in support of tenants who depend on effective rent regulations.  While

this issue is being debated, we will continue our advocacy and pressure until we

have achieved our goal of stronger rent laws.

To be sure, what the Governor proposes – ending the failed experiment of vacancy

decontrol; eliminating the landlord vacancy bonus; making apartment improvement

surcharges temporary; and ending the “preferential rent” scam - are exactly what

tenants need.  That is why they are the exact points we have been making for years

as the minimum steps necessary to fix the worst loopholes in the rent laws.

Further, given the fact that the current rent laws were negotiated by two individuals

who have subsequently been arrested for corruption schemes involving the real

estate industry, it is clear that these laws are the product of corruption and cannot

be allowed to stand.

In this context, we are pleased that the Governor now recognizes the need for real

rent reform and stronger laws to protect tenants.   But today’s proposal is only the

first step, and one that requires the Governor to follow through by delivering on

these laws as the legislative session winds down.  Doing so will make him a hero to

millions of tenants in rent-regulated housing; failing to deliver would once more

prove that in Albany, money continues to trump the needs of the people of our state.

We have seen the ability of this Governor to win significant changes to state law

when he puts his mind to it.  We have also seen this Governor make sweeping

promises, only to see those promises fall by the wayside in the face of Albany

politics. And we have also been repeatedly betrayed by leaders in Albany who made

promises to tenants, then quickly caved to real estate behind closed doors.

We believe the Governor has the power to deliver on this promise.  We are counting

on him to do so.

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