albany

What’s at Stake in New York’s Rent Wars

A row of tenement buildings with rent stabilized units on Henry Street in the Lower East Side.
A row of tenement buildings with rent stabilized units on Henry Street in the Lower East Side. Photo: Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

With both houses of the state Legislature firmly in Democratic control, tenants are rallying for reversal of provisions in state rent laws that let landlords increase rents above the hikes on renewed leases permitted by the city Rent Guidelines Board.

The Senate and Assembly are considering modifying or eliminating all of these mechanisms when New York’s rent laws expire on June 15.

They allow especially sharp rent increases as apartments become vacant. Once rents reach a threshold — currently $2,774.76 a month — owners are permitted to permanently remove apartments from regulation.

Last year, 4,628 apartments left the system this way, and more than 160,000 have gone through high-rent deregulation since 1994, according to the board.

The following is an example of how an apartment’s rents can rise past the deregulation threshold in just a few years.

Download THE CITY’s rent law guide.

Sign up for “THE CITY Scoop,” our daily newsletter where we send you stories like this first thing in the morning.

Want to republish this story? See our republication guidelines.