Damage control on the landlord front

Crain's New York Busines, June 9, 1997
With chances increasing that the state's rent laws could expire June 15, the city's real estate industry is cautioning landlords not to impose evictions or huge rent increases on tenants. The industry wants to avoid incidents during any lapse in the laws that could help tenant forces seeking to preserve rent regulations. Two leading landlord groups, the Real Estate Board of New York and the Rent Stabilization Association, are asking their members to act in a ``responsible'' manner if the laws expire. ``Our actions will be in the spotlight and anything we do can hurt our chance to achieve a phaseout of rent regulation,'' the letter says.

The industry has also set up a committee to handle tenant complaints and, if necessary, use their influence to force landlords to rescind rent increases or eviction threats. The committee is chaired by two of the city's biggest developers, Bernard Mendik and Lewis Rudin. ``It is our objective, through the committee, to deal with any complaints that might come about and use the power of persuasion to ask people to act in a responsible manner,'' says Steven Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board. He acknowledged that tenants would be leery of asking a landlord group for help with their landlords. ``They can go to the tenant organizations,'' he said. ``But we think we can be more helpful. We also think believe there can be reasonable compromise on the legislation and the tenants groups don't.''