Cuomo says he'll sign major overhaul of rent regulations, tenant protections

Originally published in Newsday on June 12, 2019.

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Wednesday that he will sign a new bill to strengthen rent control laws that will protect more than 2 million tenants in a measure that could, for the first time, extend the decades-old New York City measure statewide.

“I will sign it,” Cuomo said, promising he wouldn’t require any amendments. “My point all along was I want the best tenant protections … I believe it is a step forward and I believe it is the best they can do.”

The bill agreed to by legislative leaders would:

  • Make the law “permanent,” ending the need to extend the measure every four to eight years, which often becomes a major fight that can be tied to unrelated measures.
  • No longer require that apartments be exempt from regulation if the rent rises to a certain level, becomes vacant, or the tenant earns $200,000 or more. Advocates say these provisions deregulated 300,000 apartments since 1994.
  • No longer allow landlords to raise rent as much as 20 percent when the unit becomes vacant.
  • Prohibit landlords from passing along increases in fuel costs.
  • Reduce rent increases to 2 percent, from 6 percent, in New York City; and to 2 percent, from 15 percent, in other counties.
  • Makes unlawful eviction a Class A misdemeanor.
  • Allows municipalities outside New York City with a vacancy rate of 5 percent or less to be governed by the rent regulation law.


“I think it was the best possible solution,” said Sen. Velmanette Montgomery (D-Brooklyn), “especially as it relates to protections for tenants.”

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