The Real Deal New York

Cuomo would go further than Assembly on rent laws

Governor voices frustration with Democrats’ proposal for a two year extender

June 23, 2015 08:00AM

From left: Andrew Cuomo and Michael McKee

From left: Andrew Cuomo and Michael McKee

A bill introduced by the New York state Assembly calls for a two-year extender of current rent laws. But Governor Andrew Cuomo is saying he is surprised by that proposal’s lack of ambition, and that he has been fighting hard behind the scenes to strengthen rent regulations.

Cuomo called tenant advocate Michael McKee on Friday night and said he was jarred by the Assembly’s bill, which he sees as a weak response when those on the tenant advocacy side have been calling to ramp up the rent laws, according to Capital New York.

“He tells me he’s moving heaven and earth to get stronger rent protections, and ‘now the Assembly has pulled the rug out from under me,’” said McKee, the treasurer of Tenants PAC.

Richard Azzopardi, a spokesman for Cuomo, said, “Keeping in touch with stakeholders is routine part of the process…However, while some tenant groups are now content with the status quo the Governor is actively fighting to enact stronger rent regulations for the 2 million New Yorkers who live in rent stabilized apartments.”

On June 6, Cuomo wrote an op-ed in the New York Daily News calling for an end to vacancy decontrol, limiting vacancy allowances, making any rent hikes associated with capital improvements temporary, and locking in preferential rents as the legal rent.

New York City’s rent laws expired last week, and the legislature subsequently passed a five-day extender.

Cuomo spoke to reporters last night, saying he believes the legislature is making “good progress,” after over a week of not appearing in public. [Capital NY] — Tess Hofmann