The Real Deal New York

Tenant advocates jittery after Sheldon Silver’s arrest

Speaker is backer of a number of rent-regulation laws that are now up for renewal
January 26, 2015 08:30AM

Tenant advocates are worried about the future of rent-regulation laws following Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s arrest.

While Silver is expected to continue his work as speaker, it’s unclear what his role will be during the upcoming session in Albany, according to the Wall Street Journal. Rent-regulation laws, as well as legislation governing a number of housing programs, are expiring in June.

“Whatever it is, it is not good,” longtime tenant advocate Michael McKee told the newspaper. “We have been counting on the Assembly to deliver for tenants this year and stop the loss of affordable housing.”

One of those programs is the 421-a tax abatement — a measure that’s very popular with the real estate industry. The program offers a tax break to developers who add affordable housing to their projects. The J-51 tax abatement for rehabilitating older buildings and a tax abatement for many individual owners of co-op and condos are also on the agenda, according to the Journal.

“Speaker Silver has always fought for stronger rent regulation and will continue to fight for tenants,” a spokesperson for the speaker told the newspaper. He added that the arrest and subsequent investigation has “absolutely no impact on what we are trying to accomplish, namely stronger rent protections.” [WSJ] — Claire Moses