LeFrak, Rudin and Durst called to sway Cuomo on rent laws. They failed.

Real estate giants were left stunned after Cuomo refused to engage with them on new rent laws that will increase protections for tenants.
June 13, 2019 04:24PM

From left: Douglas Durst, Bill Rudin and Richard LeFrak with Governor Andrew Cuomo (Credit: Getty Images and iStock)

From left: Douglas Durst, Bill Rudin and Richard LeFrak with Governor Andrew Cuomo (Credit: Getty Images and iStock)

As the state legislature agreed to advance sweeping changes to rent laws that would increase tenant protections, three titans of New York real estate made a last ditch effort to stop the effort.

Richard LeFrak, Bill Rudin and Douglas Durst dialed into a call with Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday to plead that he veto the bill, according to The New York Times. The trio in the past have donated millions in campaign contributions to the governor.

“The governor and staff had a call with real estate and housing people who were concerned that the bill could reduce the number of units in New York,” a spokesperson for the Governor told the outlet. “And he said they should raise those concerns to the Legislature.”

Under the new law, which were agreed upon by the state Senate and Assembly earlier this week, rent-regulated tenants will receive greater protections with the elimination of vacancy decontrol, that allows landlords to deregulate an apartment when it becomes vacant; and will impose limitations on the Major Capital Improvement and Individual Apartment Improvement programs.

The legislation will affect close to 1 million rent-regulated apartments.

The real estate industry, which is used to schmoozing legislators behind closed doors, have been caught somewhat flat-footed on the bill, which appears all but sure to pass amid a rise in progressive Democrats entering the state legislature.

Jay Martin, the executive director of the Community Housing Improvement Program, told The Real Deal that the Major Capital Improvement and Individual Apartment Improvement programs are so “gutted and neutered” that they will become mostly ineffective. [NYT] — David Jeans