City to landlords offering buyouts: Back off!

Owners will have to wait six months between offers to rent-regulated tenants
September 03, 2015 01:30PM

It doesn’t hurt to ask, right? When it comes to landlords offering to buy out rent-regulated tenants, Mayor Bill de Blasio begs to differ.

New rules, signed into law Thursday, will require city landlords to wait six months from the time a rent-regulated tenant rejects a buyout offer before the landlord can make another.

“We will not let abusive landlords intimidate tenants so they can make an extra buck,” de Blasio said at a hearing Wednesday.

Vacant rent-stabilized apartments renovated and re-rented at market rates can often fetch as much as triple their rent, the Associated Press reported. Around 266,000 apartments have been deregulated since 1994.

But landlords and allies are pushing back.

The six-month lockout “prohibits what can be purely benign, non-threatening, non-intimidating—what should be protected free speech,” Sherwin Belkin, of law firm Belkin Burden Wenig & Goldman told the AP. He also noted that laws against harassing tenants are already on the books. In 2014, the penalty for such badgering doubled to $10,000. [AP]Ariel Stulberg