To renew or not to renew: Albany faces key real estate votes

Rent regulation, tax cap and tax credit laws all on the agenda of state legislators

New York /
Jan.January 07, 2015 05:40 PM

As state lawmakers have returned to work and Governor Andrew Cuomo has been inaugurated for his second term, one of the most important issues on the agenda in Albany will be housing related.

At the top of the agenda this year is the expiration of rent control on June 15. Legislators will also address the tax cap — the 421-a program that offers a tax exemption for newly constructed housing in return for designating a minimum of 20 percent of the units as non-market rate. In addition, lawmakers will consider the J-51 tax credit, which exempts certain landlords from an increase in property taxes when rehabilitating multiple-dwelling buildings. Both the tax cap and tax credit are set to expire about the same time as the rent control provision, according to Capital New York.

Tenant activists are pushing to repeal vacancy de-control — in which affordable units become market-rate — while landlords are looking toward the Republican-held Senate to quash efforts to strengthen rent control, the website reported.

The Real Estate Board of New York’s political action committee raised roughly $1.9 million this election cycle, most of which went to Republican candidates for state senate.

Steven Spinola, the outgoing president of REBNY, called the current political climate “pretty decent,” in an interview with the website.

“I think it is good for the Legislature to be able to have the ability to debate all of the sides of the issue, and I think having the Democrats well-represented in the Assembly and significant numbers in the State Senate, and the Republicans with a majority in the Senate means that the leadership and the members have to recognize that they’ve got to make a deal with each other,” Spinola told Capital. “The pendulum swings back and forth.” [Capital NY] — Claire Moses


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