Battle for Rules And Deregulations

Daily News, June 12, 1997
Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about the rent battle.

I live in a rent-controlled apartment. Does the fight affect me?

There is no change for the 70,000 rent-controlled tenants in New York City. But the 8,000 rent-controlled tenants in Westchester and Nassau counties and upstate could face large rent hikes.

Will rent-stabilized apartments be affected?

Yes. The current laws restrict the size of rent hikes for about 1 million apartments in New York City. Some 40,000 tenants who have lived in their rent-stabilized units since before July 1971 won't be affected, housing experts say.

I have a lease now. Will it still be good?

Yes. You're covered by the terms of the lease until it expires.

Will I lose my right to an automatic lease renewal if I live in a rent-stabilized apartment?

Yes. But tenants whose leases expire before Oct. 13 should have been offered a renewal already. The allowable increase is 5% for a one-year lease and 7% for a two-year lease.

What about tenants who are poor and elderly?

A special housing subsidy for low-income elderly called the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption will expire with the rent laws. But city officials have said they will try to continue the subsidy.

What happens if the laws expire, and state leaders enact new ones later?

It's possible, but not certain, that new provisions would be made retroactive to cover any alleged abuses that occurred in the interim.

What happens if I want to rent a vacant apartment that was covered by the laws?

Most landlords say they can charge market rents for these units as soon as the current laws expire.

I have a federal Section 8 housing subsidy for the poor. Is that at risk?

No, that program is not affected.

Where can I call for information?

Contact the Metropolitan Council on Housing, a tenant group, at (212) 693-0550, or the Rent Stabilization Association, a landlord group, at (800) 924-3933.