Posted by Sir Loving on May 21, 1997 at 12:31:13:
In Reply to: if regulations expire ..... posted by Mariel on May 20, 1997 at 18:47:20:
: If the state politicians let the rent regulations expire, can the city government create a local law to keep rent regulations in the city? Right now they are prevented from making any regulations that are more strict than the state regs. -- but if the state regs. expire.....
Some Regulated Apartments May Be Unaffected
By RICHARD PEREZ-PENA
New York Times, May 18, 1997
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Lost in the furor over the overhauling of New York's rent laws
has been the fact that thousands of apartments in New York City could continue to
be regulated no matter what state lawmakers decide.
Housing experts disagree sharply about how many city apartments that would be, and
that disagreement is only one sign of how complex the rental market has become after
a tortuous half-century of regulation.
Indeed, if state laws are allowed to expire June 16, only two results appear to be
certain: widespread confusion and many lawsuits.
The rules that limit rents on 1.2 million apartments in the state are not one law but
several. Two are New York City laws that would not be affected if the state allowed
its laws to expire.
The city's rent stabilization law, enacted in 1969 and applied to buildings built from
1947 to 1968, has been largely pre-empted by a later state law. City officials and
most housing experts say the city law still covers about 40,000 units, but some
experts interpret the laws differently and say the city law still governs 280,000
Disagreement in how to interpret the city law will surely be at the center of an
enormous number of lawsuits if the state laws expire, as renters seek rulings that their
apartments are still regulated by the city law. That city law, its rent stabilization law, is
subject to renewal every three years by the City Council and the mayor, and was
renewed this year.
The other city law, its rent control law, was enacted in 1962 as the successor to a
series of city, state and federal rules that date to 1943. That rent control law applies
to about 70,000 apartments, those built before 1947 that have had the same
occupant, or a family successor, since 1971. Rent control originally meant much
lower rents than rent stabilization, but the gap has narrowed over the years, because
the city has allowed sizable annual increases in controlled rents.
As Mayor Rudolph Giuliani frequently notes, the city rent control system does not
have an expiration date, and would not be affected if state rent regulations end.
In 1971, the state enacted vacancy decontrol, meaning that when tenants moved out
or died, their landlords were able to charge market rates for the vacated apartment.
About 400,000 units were deregulated this way before the state repealed vacancy
decontrol as part of a new rent law in 1974.
The main state law that is scheduled to expire is that 1974 law, which extended rent
stabilization in the city to buildings built from 1968 to 1973. It also required that any
rent-controlled apartment that became vacant would revert to rent stabilization, a rule
that has gradually made rent stabilization the dominant system, converting 764,000
units from rent control.
All told, the state law now imposes rent stabilization on slightly more than 1 million
units in the city, including those whose status under the city law is uncertain.
The 1974 state law also allowed towns in Nassau, Westchester and Rockland
counties to enact rent stabilization. Those suburbs have about 60,000 apartments
under the state system.
Copyright 1997 The New York Times Company
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