The Real Deal New York

Cynthia Nixon unveils her housing plan. And landlords won’t like it

Plan focuses on overhauling rent regulations
May 04, 2018 08:30AM

Cynthia Nixon (Credit: Metropolitan Transportation Authority/Patrick Cashin)

Gubernatorial hopeful Cynthia Nixon has released her housing plan, which focuses largely on a major overhaul of the state’s rent regulations.

The former “Sex and the City” actress challenging Gov. Andrew Cuomo for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination has proposed eliminating methods that landlords use to deregulate and raise rents at rent-stabilized apartments, according to Politico. She would increase funding for the Division of Homes and Community Renewal, which enforces tenant protection laws, and change the formula that landlords use to determine rent increases based on apartment renovations they make.

Nixon also promised to end vacancy decontrol, a practice that allows landlords to deregulate rent-stabilized apartments once a tenant moves out and the rents hits a legally-mandated threshold, which is currently $2,733. Housing advocates have criticized this policy as creating an incentive for landlords to make rent-stabilized apartments unlivable to force out tenants and raise rents, and Cuomo said last month that he wants to end the practice as well.

Her plan would end the “vacancy bonus loophole” as well, which lets landlords raise rents by 20 percent each time an apartment is vacated, and wants rent increases based on renovations to only exist long enough for landlords to recoup their costs. She hopes to expand rent-stabilization laws as well, which currently only apply to buildings built before 1974 with at least six units in New York City, Westchester County, Rockland County and Nassau County.

She also proposed “just cause” legislation, which would require landlords to have a “just” reason for evicting tenants, such as not paying their rent or breaching their lease.

Nixon, who trails Cuomo in the polls but has moved the two-term governor to the left, did not get into specifics about how she would pass most of these policy proposals, which would be very difficult if Republicans continue to hold their majority in the state Senate.

“What we need is leadership on this issue,” she said, according to Politico. “Governor Cuomo gives a lot of lip service to this and his tenant protection unit that he’s so proud of.”