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

Blackstone CEO Steven Schwartzman and Stuyvesant Town (Credit: Getty Images)

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

Real Capital Analytics data showed that New York’s multifamily market had a very slow July. (Credit: iStock)

New NYC rent law “beginning to shut down investment”

According to a lobbyist, the REBNY is not planning to attend Governor Andrew Cuomo’s birthday party (Credit: Getty Images, iStock)

Big Real Estate facing new limits on NY state campaign contributions

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (Credit: Getty Images, iStock, Wikipedia)

Cuomo signs bill to lock up landlords who harass tenants

Berlin, Germany (Credit: Getty Images, iStock)

Rent freeze in Berlin ends calls for expropriation, but may spark disinvestment

Governor Andrew Cuomo (Credit: Getty Images, iStock, and Pixabay)

Analysis: Here’s what the new rent law will do to the average stabilized apartment

From left: Assembly member Joseph Lentol, Governor Andrew Cuomo and State Senator Liz Krueger (Credit: Getty Images)

Tenant harassment bill hits governor’s desk

arrow_forward_ios