News From New York State
Senator Shirley L. Huntley
For Immediate Release: June 29, 2011
Contact: Antonio Rodriguez | firstname.lastname@example.org | (518) 455-3531
Senate Passes Stronger Rent Regulations
Senator Shirley L. Huntley Addresses Affordable Housing Crisis Through Extension
and Expansion of Rent Laws
In an effort to preserve New York’s stock of affordable housing and protect over 2.5 million tenants in New York City and the surrounding counties, Senator Shirley L. Huntley (D-Jamaica) and the State Senate passed a four-year extension and expansion of rent regulations. The legislation marks the first time in almost 30 years that rent laws have been strengthened to provide greater protections for tenants.
“We were not going to let millions of families face eviction due to the expiration of rent regulations,” Senator Huntley said. “By passing the first expansion of rent laws in over a generation, tenants will finally receive some of the added protections they need to remain in their homes. While I wish we could have done even more to strengthen rent regulations and stabilize New York’s stock of affordable housing, our journey to achieve lasting tenant protections is not over – it has just begun.”
In Southeast Queens, which covers much of Senator Huntley’s 10th district, there are over 15,000 rent regulated apartments. Passing an expansion of stronger rent laws will provide families a sense of security and stability. It is vitally important that housing in New York City remain available and affordable, especially for seniors, the disabled, and minority communities who have greater income disparity compared to other residents.
Due to the economy the divide between the rich and the poor is growing wider, and the number of middle class families declining as a result. Keeping units in place and safe from vacancy decontrol will inevitably keep more middle and working class families in Queens and throughout New York City.
Between 1994 and 2010, it is estimated that over 300,000 units of affordable housing were removed from rent regulation, and over 1 million more units were in jeopardy of being lost to deregulation if rent regulations were not extended. To stop deregulation and stabilize New York’s stock of affordable housing through long-term safeguards that protect tenants, Senator Huntley pushed for and achieved strengthened rent laws which in part:
• Extend rent regulations for another four years;
• Raise the annual household income threshold for deregulation to $250,000 per year from $200,000;
• Raise the monthly rent threshold for deregulation to $2,500 per month from $2,000;
• Require landlords making major capital improvements to an apartment for more than 10 percent of the monthly rent to get their claims verified by state housing officials before they can pass along costs to tenants; and
• Four-year extension of the 421-a tax credit for economic development projects where the developer agrees to set aside 20 percent of the units for affordable housing.