Lynda Williams woke up Tuesday in her Brooklyn apartment of 34 years wondering about her future there, after the state’s decades-old rent regulations expired overnight.
Although officials say the laws ultimately will be renewed, “it’s scary for me,” said Williams, a retired nurse who has seen deregulated apartments across the street from hers rent for considerably more than she pays.
As Gov. Andrew Cuomo discussed the rent laws Tuesday morning in a closed-door meeting with top lawmakers in Albany, renters and housing advocates rallied outside his Manhattan office and at City Hall to decry the regulations’ lapse at midnight Monday despite months of discussion.
If the laws aren’t extended, restrictions on rent increases and evictions for more than 2 million tenants in and around New York City would disappear once their leases expire. Lawmakers say that’s an unlikely scenario, but it has tenants nervous: New York City’s 311 information hotline has seen an uptick in calls in recent days.
Cuomo has said he won’t let lawmakers leave Albany until they renew the rent regulations.
The laws briefly expired during their last renewal cycle four years ago; an extension passed a few days later. Seeking to reassure tenants, Cuomo has said any renewal agreement this time will be retroactive.
The Assembly’s Democratic majority wants to repeal a provision that currently allows some apartments to be deregulated when tenants move out. The Republican-led Senate wants to institute income verification rules for tenants. Cuomo supports stronger tenant protections, but wants it tied to the Assembly passing an education tax credit for non-public schools.