He will travel to Albany next week to push for protections

Associated Press
Saturday, May 24, 1997

NEW YORK -- Mayor Rudolph Giuliani says he will go back to Albany next week to push to keep rent controls on more than 1 million apartments, and to urge Republican leaders to come around to his position.

``I believe that we should continue rent stabilization and rent control,'' the mayor said. ``I will continue to oppose'' their elimination.

The mayor is scheduled to spend much of Thursday at the Capitol, meeting with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Manhattan Democrat, and other leaders.

Giuliani is at odds over rent control with fellow Republican Gov. George Pataki and state Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, a Rensselaer County Republican, who have proposed revamping rent laws.

State laws regulating the rents of more than 1 million apartments, mostly in New York City, are set to expire June 15.

Bruno has sought the virtual abolition of rent controls, which date to the end of World War II. Silver, like Giuliani, wants the regulations extended.

Pataki's plan would decontrol households with incomes above $175,000 a year, except for people over 62 or the disabled. Rent controls for other tenants would continue until they and their families vacate or die.

In recent private talks among legislative leaders, Silver has revealed he may willing to permit the rent-regulated apartments of some high-income tenants to be decontrolled, according to news reports.

Under current law, renters with household incomes of $250,000 or more who live in apartments renting for at least $2,000 a month do not qualify for rent control, which stabilizes rent prices.

Silver ``would like to take it down from $250,000 to maybe $225,000, something like that,'' Bruno told the New York Post and the Daily News.

Giuliani told reporters Pataki is making a mistake by trying to lower the threshold.

``If the governor wants to protect 99 percent of New Yorkers, he's going to have to move that level all the way up, closer to the $250,000 where it's presently at,'' the mayor said.

On Friday, Bruno said a compromise on the rent issue, which has stalled the state budget and other issues such as welfare reform, was up to Silver.

``The message (from Giuliani) ought to be that unless they get to the table and do something before (June) 15th, they are going to see every tenant deregulated,'' Bruno said.

Silver spokeswoman Patricia Lynch did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment but told the Post, ``We've always been willing to discuss tinkering around the edges, including with luxury decontrol.''

A major stumbling block to an agreement on rent protections is vacancy decontrol.