Deep Concerns But No Panic As Rent Regulations Expire


With the laws governing regulations on all rent controlled apartments expiring at midnight last night, a state of near panic gripped the city and its two million residents living in rent controlled apartments.

However, as reported in the New York Times, rent regulation laws have expired several times in Albany in the past including in 1997, 2003 and 2011, and each time were eventually renewed retroactively within weeks.

There is reason for concern, though, and the following local lawmakers addressed these, along with giving their thoughts on the issue and who was at fault for letting the renewal laws expire.

Borough President Eric Adams
Borough President Eric Adams

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams: “I am disappointed by the inability of political leadership in Albany to agree on the much-needed strengthening our city’s rent regulations. Even more, I am dismayed by the uncertainty and fear that may be experienced by tenants residing in about 300,000 impacted apartment units across Brooklyn. The State must act swiftly to pass new retroactively-applied rent regulations and it must seize this moment to enact important reforms, including vacancy decontrol.

“Brooklynites living in rent-regulated apartments still have legal rights, including protection for their duration of their lease. I ask anyone experiencing harassing, threatening, or otherwise dangerous behavior from their landlord to call my Constituent Assistance Center at (718) 802-3777. As I have noted previously, I will consider taking legal action any and all cases of bad-acting landlords in Brooklyn.”

Seantor Jesse Hamilton
Seantor Jesse Hamilton

Central Brooklyn State Senator Jesse Hamilton: “If you live in a rent regulated apartment you have probably been closely following proposals in the State Legislature to extend and strengthen our rent laws, which expired on June 15.

I delivered remarks on rent regulation laws yesterday opposing the Senate Republican Majority’s version of rent regulation. Many constituents in my district are living the American Nightmare right now. The American Dream is being denied to many in the middle class who are now becoming the working poor. Many individuals in my district are paying more than 50% of their income to rent.

My office has received calls from residents who are concerned that they could face large rent increases or be evicted from their homes if the rent regulations are not extended.

Rest assured, that is not the case. Tenants under a current lease will retain their protections even if the laws expire. A landlord has no legal right to move you out. Even if your lease is up for renewal, you still have certain legal safeguards to protect you.

If the laws should expire without being extended, landlords have been warned by State and City officials not to attempt to make any changes until new legislation protecting rent stabilization is passed.

There have been reports of landlords telling tenants they are going to have to move when the rent laws expire. That is blatantly false, and tenants are being advised not to leave their apartments. If you are being harassed by your landlord, call 311, my office’s 24 hour constituent services hotline at 347-770-5054 or click hereThe city is working closely with Legal Aid and other organizations on this issue and is urging tenants to report any harassment immediately.

This scenario has happened in the past with no consequence. The rent laws expired for two days when they last came up for renewal in 2011. Soon after, the Legislature passed new regulations that retroactively covered any apartments that might have gone to market rate in the interim period.

Now is the time to come together as a Senate family and do the right thing by the working class and middle class New Yorkers, who are now being pushed to the margins in New York State. Strong rent laws is not a Democratic issue and it is not a Republican issue. It is a human issue.

Diana Richardson
Assemblywoman Diana Richardson

Crown Heights/Lefferst Gardens Assemblywoman Diana Richardson:  Richardson said the expiration of the rent laws means that those residents living in rent regulated apartments now face possible increases to market rate rents once their current lease expires.

As such, Richardson said she agrees with Mayor Bill De Blasio noting that this represents “the end of New York City as we know it,” and “Albany at its worst.”

“The State needs to step in and do its job to protect its residents. We need to recognize that no price can be placed on community. We need to respect the millions of hard-working New Yorkers living in our communities, and let them know that we will not allow them to be cast aside,” said Richardson.

“”If your landlord is attempting to force you out, please make sure you know your legal protections,” Richardson noted. “Many resources are available to inform you of your rights, and to assist you in disputes with your landlord. For assistance, call the office of the Public Advocate at (212) 669-7250. You are not alone in this struggle.”

Richardson concluded that her 43rd Assembly district has the third highest concentration of rent regulated units in the city and residents living in these apartments now face an uncertain future.

“I am extremely upset with the Senate for their failure to act on behalf of our residents,”Richardson said. “I cannot accept the neighbors I have lived amongst all my life living with uncertainty and insecurity. I refuse to accept a world in which we are pushed out.”

Public Advocate Letitia James
Public Advocate Letitia James

New York City Public Advocate Letitia James: “Albany has failed millions of New Yorkers who rely on rent regulations to stay in their homes. It is shameful that working families are being punished due to dysfunction in our state government. As elected officials and government leaders, it is our job to protect our communities. The State Assembly has done the right thing. Now, the Senate must immediately extend and expand rent regulations so millions of tenants can be protected. Of course, we will continue to provide legal services and support to tenants affected by this crisis.”
Housing Groups

Flatbush Tenant Coalition

Tenant Protection Unit

Equality For Flatbush

El Grito de Sunset Park

NYC Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)

Public Advocate’s Office

Tenants & Neighbors

Fifth Avenue Committee 

Crown Heights Tenants Union

Real Rent Reform (R3)