City Council Holding Rent Line

By MICHAEL O. ALLEN
Daily News Staff Writer

The City Council yesterday endured glares, chants and boos, but ultimately got cheers from tenants as it overwhelmingly approved largely symbolic action to continue laws that restrict rent hikes.

The 47-to-3 vote, which sets the stage for Mayor Giuliani to sign the bill before an April 1 reauthorization deadline, also makes it tougher for landlords to impose large rent hikes on luxury units that become vacant.

The decision came before a boisterous, heavily pro-tenant crowd of about 300 that packed the City Council hearing gallery and spilled over to the City Hall Public Hearing Room, where they heard the Council proceedings over speakers.

But the decision could be rendered essentially meaningless by the state Senate where Majority Leader Joe Bruno (R-Rensselaer) has vowed to let the rent protections expire June 15 unless state lawmakers agree to a two-year phaseout of the half-century-old rent protection system.

City Council Speaker Peter Vallone (D-Queens) cited that threat after the vote. "We have sent about as clear and convincing a message as we could to the majority leader of the Senate," he said.

Original Story Date: 032697
Original Story Section: City Central