New rent law confuses even lawyers

Close reading could indicate that it provides more tenant protections than initially thought

A recent rent rally in Albany
A recent rent rally in Albany

The state’s new 73-page rent law could cause more confusion than lawyers had foreseen.

The new legislation, which lawmakers agreed on late last month, did not end vacancy decontrol. Instead, the threshold to flip affordable units to market rent was upped from $2,500 to $2,700.

A close reading of the law, however, seems to indicate that it might actually increase tenant protections and make removing apartments from rent regulation harder than before, according to the Wall Street Journal. One interpretation of the new legislation seems to conclude that apartments can only be deregulated if the prior tenant’s rent reached $2,700, lawyers told the newspaper.

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Belkin Burden Wenig & Goldman partner Matthew Brett, who represents landlords, said that the tenants’ close reading of the fine print was “sort of a reach.”

“The statute as a whole doesn’t change anything,” Brett told the newspaper. [WSJ]Claire Moses