Tenant advocates lost political muscle over last 18 years: report

As units went market-rate, fewer were left to fight decontrol

TRD New York /
Aug.August 13, 2015 03:00 PM

Governor Andrew Cuomo pushed through an inflation-adjusted vacancy-decontrol threshold lower than the one Governor George Pataki put in place in 1997 because political backing for stronger rent protections has dwindled over the last 18 years, according to tenant advocates.

The waning power can be traced back to Pataki’s decision to reinstitute vacancy deregulation in 1997, allowing apartments to become market rate when unit rents hit $2,000 ($2,973 in today’s dollars, adjusted for inflation), advocates told WNYC. Cuomo set the limit at $2,700 a few weeks ago.

Tenant advocates in 18 years ago warned that bringing back decontrol would eventually diminish the number of rent-regulated apartments – and, therefore, the number of middle-class tenants in favor of the protections – to the point where there would be no political clout to battle decontrol. It’s proven prescient.

“There would be so few apartments left under rent control or rent stabilization, tenants would no longer have the political muscle to get the laws renewed,” said Michael McKee with the New York State Tenants and Neighbors Coalition.

In the 18 years since Pataki – who is now a long-shot candidate for the Republican Party presidential nomination – brought back decontrol, 70,688 rent-regulated apartments in Manhattan went market rate, according to US Census figures sited by the news station.

Other major factors included a loophole in city laws that allow co-ops to be deregulated after conversion.

Roberta Gold, author of When Tenants Claimed the City, even took Mayor Bill de Blasio to task, saying his inclusionary zoning program has created few low-rent units and pushes gentrification to historically inexpensive areas. – Rich Bockmann


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Governor Andrew Cuomo and Senator James Skoufis (Credit: Getty Images, NY Senate)

Owners of some residential properties can’t hide behind
LLCs anymore

Owners of some residential properties can’t hide behind
LLCs anymore
Blackstone CEO Steven Schwartzman and Stuyvesant Town (Credit: Getty Images)

After authorities vowed review of Stuy Town deal, Blackstone changes course on vacancies

After authorities vowed review of Stuy Town deal, Blackstone changes course on vacancies
Tete-à-tete with TRD: How landlords are dealing with New York’s new rent laws

Tete-à-tete with TRD: How landlords are dealing with New York’s new rent laws

Tete-à-tete with TRD: How landlords are dealing with New York’s new rent laws
JFK Airport’s $15 billion planned overhaul could be delayed for years, as passenger volume continues to plummet. (Rendering via Governor Cuomo's office)

Grounded: JFK’s $15B overhaul could be delayed years

Grounded: JFK’s $15B overhaul could be delayed years
Mayor Bill de Blasio with Jing Fong at 20 Elizabeth Street in Chinatown and St. John the Divine at 1047 Amsterdam Avenue in Morningside Heights (de Blasio by Noam Galai/Getty Images; Jing Fong via Facebook; St. John the Diving via Google Maps)

Schools are racing to lease extra space for socially distanced classes

Schools are racing to lease extra space for socially distanced classes
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Getty, iStock)

Eviction moratorium extended until September

Eviction moratorium extended until September
Governor Andrew Cuomo (iStock; Cuomo by Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)

End of eviction ban to unleash 14,000 warrants in NY

End of eviction ban to unleash 14,000 warrants in NY
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Photo by Richard Drew-Pool/Getty Images)

State can now revoke real estate licenses for discriminatory practices

State can now revoke real estate licenses for discriminatory practices
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...