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Re: Rent Regulation Expiration - City Council's Role

Posted by TenantNet on March 06, 1997 at 05:15:23:

In Reply to: Rent Regulation Expiration - City Council's Role posted by Mike Wolffs on March 05, 1997 at 22:39:20:

: If rent regulation expires at the state level, is there anything stopping the city
: council from imposing a new set of regulations on the city alone without cooperation
: the state legislature?
: If the city could act alone, it would make a expiration at the state level meaningless
: (to city residents, at least). This seems like a viable option, but I never hear it
: mentioned.

It's called the "Urstadt Law" which is actually a couple of laws (chapter
372 of the Laws of 1971 and chapter 1012 of the laws of 1971) named after
Charles Urstadt who was at that time Governor Rockerfeller's Housing
Commissioner. Urstadt is still around and directed Pataki's transition
report on housing (want to see that?).

The rent laws as we know them are "enabled" by the state legislature and
it gets very complex. Once the state enables the laws, then NYC (and other
municipalities in the state) can adopt local laws. Simply put, the
Urstadt Law says that no city government can pass a local law which is
"more restrictive" than the laws in effect in 1971. So the city cannot
pass a law that's better to tenants (although it can pass laws more
friendly to landlords) than what the state has allowed. There are
basically two state enabling statutes: The Local Emergency Rent Control
Act of 1972 which enabled the NYC Rent and Eviction Law (Rent Control)
and the 1969 NYC Rent Stabilization Law, and the 1974 Emergency Tenant
Protection Act (ETPA). Without these two state laws, the city could
not pass the local laws. There are differing views on how these
laws are construed when it comes to these issues and there's an entire
line of court cases which discuss the interplay of these laws. Just as
the US Constitution only gives the Federal Government certain rights and
reserves the remaining powers to the states, so to the State Constitution
retains certain powers (i.e., housing) and delegates certain powers to
the cities. This gets into the whole "home rule" issue. Any scholars
out there wish to expand on this?

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