VICE: New York's Notorious Landlords Are Finally Losing Some of Their Power

Originally published in VICE News on June 12, 2019.

"It's stronger than anything anybody predicted going into this campaign," said Rebecca Garrard, a housing organizer with Citizen Action of New York, one of the organizations in the Upstate Downstate Housing Alliance, a coalition that advocated for the new housing policies. "It's a culmination of a multi-year, statewide movement that has accomplished fighting back [against] real estate lobby money."

The new deal is focused mostly on the urban populations in the state. In particular, it's centered on rent stabilization, a method of controlling rent increases, especially in buildings built before 1974 in New York City. The decision in Albany would bar landlords from their current practice of deregulating rent-stabilized apartments after rents hit a certain point so that they can charge market rates. And it would abolish the so-called vacancy bonus, wherein a landlord can hike up the rent after a tenant leaves a rent-stabilized apartment. This would protect some of the almost one million regulated apartments in the city.

"This sweeping legislation provides the strongest tenant protections since the rent laws were enacted decades ago," Democratic state senator Mike Gianaris of Queens said in a statement. His party's lawmakers heralded the housing protections not only as a win for tenants, but for the stronghold that the progressive left was erecting in the state.

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