Giuliani Lobbies On Rent Regs

Daily News City Hall Bureau Chief

Mayor Giuliani descended on the capitol yesterday in a public display of lobbying, fighting to continue rent regulations that are set to expire as he seeks a new term.

Giuliani said his five-hour sweep through the offices of legislative leaders and Gov. Pataki produced movement in the rent-control battle. An aide to Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno (R-Rensselaer) said no substantive gains occurred.

At the least, the mayor managed to draw a crowd of reporters and TV crews, increasing his visibility on an issue crucial to hundreds of thousands of city voters.

More than 1 million apartments are rent-controlled or rent-stabilized, most in the city. State Senate Republicans are leading the charge not to renew the laws, which expire June 15.

Joined by City Council Speaker Peter Vallone (D-Queens), Giuliani said they wanted to show that city officials from both parties support controls.

They urged key combatants in the battle, Bruno and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan), to begin private negotiations to end the deadlock so tenants can have peace of mind.

"There was movement on positions privately," Giuliani said. "I can't say they got anywhere near agreement, but both [Vallone] and I detected that on both sides there was more willingness to have discussions."

Bruno and Silver met for the first time about rent control after each sat down with Giuliani, but their 15-minute chat produced no reported progress.

But one possible area of compromise emerged.

Topics discussed by Giuliani and various officials included the idea of maintaining rent controls but lowering the rent and income thresholds for apartments to be decontrolled, a source said.

An apartment now loses controls if its rent rises beyond $2,000 and its tenant earns more than $250,000 a year.

The mayor's Democratic rivals were unimpressed. They said Giuliani was paying lip service to rent control and wasn't pressuring Bruno and other Republicans with the same gusto he brings to other issues, like diplomats who don't pay their parking tickets.

Original Story Date: 041597
Original Story Section: City Central