By Michelle Powers
It’s been a long, hard battle over rent reform. Just over a week ago hundreds of activists protested on the steps of the state capitol – many of them arrested, but undeterred.
“I think we need to put people first and not profits for a handful of landlords,” said Charlie Dulik of Churches United for Fair Housing.
Now, democratic leaders in albany say they have deal on a far-reaching set of provisions that will affect almost two and a half million people in nearly one million rent-regulated apartments all across the city.
The new protections limit rent increases, bar building owners from deregulating apartments, and close certain loopholes that lets them raise rents.
The bill also makes many of the changes permanent and allows rent protections to expand statewide.
Lawmakers are calling the agreement the strongest tenant protections in history. In a statement to Currents News, Brooklyn State Senator Zellnor Myrie said:
“This bill is the strongest package of tenant protections New York has seen since World War II. For decades, our communities have lost hundreds of thousands of rent regulated units, but with this legislation, we are putting power back in the hands of tenants.”
But real estate trade groups fear the changes could put smaller landlords out of business and lead to deteriorating housing conditions saying:
“This legislation fails to address the city’s housing crisis and will lead to disinvestment in the city’s private sector rental stock.”
Tenant activists insist the new legislation will impact the lives of millions of renters while keeping the real estate industry in check.
Both chambers of the legislature are expecting to vote on the package sometime this week before the current regulations are set to expire. Governor Cuomo says he will sign the bill.