Rent Negotiations Go Down to the Wire

New York 1 Cable, June 15, 1997

There are now just hours left until state rent laws expire, and the top players are once again set to sit down at the bargaining table.

State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno, Assemble Speaker Sheldon Silver and Governor Pataki are set to resume negotiations around 10:30 this morning, and vacancy decontrol continues to be the major roadblock to an agreement. On Saturday, Governor Pataki signed an executive order calling for State Attorney General Dennis Vacco to probe cases of harassment and other illegal activities by landlords if rent laws expire.

Meanwhile, city tenants are doing what they can as the zero-hour nears. In Queens, tenants will spread leaflets at churches within State Senator Serphin Maltese's district. Yesterday, The New York State Tenants and Neighbors Coalition held a demonstration in front of Maltese's house. The protestors are hoping to persuade the Senator not to side with fellow Republican Joe Bruno.

Later today, busloads of tenants leave the city for Albany to wait out the final hours there.

Now, if you have questions or concerns about the possible end of rent laws, there are several numbers you can call. The State has set up a toll-free information hotline for tenants who think they are being harassed. That number is 1 (888) 736-8457. The number will be up and running at noon today, and will then be available 24-hours a day.

The city has also set up hotlines. For general information or legal assistance, call (212) 487-5858. And if you are concerned about harassment, call (212) 487-6633. The city hotline numbers are open from 6:00am until 10:00pm.

Now here's a look at who will be affected if rent laws expire: