NYC’s Rent Stabilization Law Is Extended To 2027

The City Council, noting that the residential vacancy rate was only 1.41 percent as of Dec. 2023, joined Adams in advocating for a pairing of the law with new affordable housing construction. Landlords unsurprisingly took issue with the extension.

| 01 Apr 2024 | 01:37

Mayor Eric Adams signed a City Council bill that extends NYC’s Rent Stabilization Law–which sets the rate of rent increases that landlords can charge their tenants–three more years until April 2027.

The law, originally enacted in 1969, was set to expire on April 1.

The move was applauded by tenant advocates. Landlord lobbying groups unsurprisingly oppose rent stabilization, as it reduces the volume of market-rate units, which are more profitable.

Adams and the City Council, however, believe that rent-stabilization is necessary for vulnerable tenants–especially when the housing market is tight. “Our rent stabilization laws are critical to the security of working-class New Yorkers who live in rent-stabilized housing,” Adams said at a bill-signing ceremony, where he also urged Albany to pass legislation that will speed the development of more affordable units.

The legislation covers more than one million rent-stabilized units, which made up about 44 percent of the overall rental apartments in the city as of June 2023. The citywide residential vacancy rate is only 1.41 percent, according to an annual survey conducted by the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. This is a notable dip from 2021’s figures, which measured a vacancy rate of 4.54 percent.

The city considers a vacancy rate of 5 percent or lower to be a “housing emergency.”

The rent stabilization extension bill also calls for the implementation of the much-touted “City Of Yes” initiative, which is in part a push for new zoning changes that will allow commercial buildings to be converted to residential use. The “City Of Yes” is backed by Adams and Borough President Mark Levine, who has said that the lack of affordable housing is the “biggest crisis” the borough is facing.

Adolfo Carrión Jr., the Commissioner of the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development, issued a more blunt statement after the bill’s signing: “Declaring a housing emergency and extending rent stabilization another three years is a necessary step to protect some of the most vulnerable renters from unaffordable rent increases, but it does not get us out of this crisis.”

“Today and every day, we are renewing our calls for all levels of government to step up and deliver the tools we need to build housing at the scale this crisis demands,” he added.

The rent stabilization law is administered by the NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) agency. In addition to providing eviction protections, rent-stabilized units also entitle tenants to “required services” and lease renewals, according to the HCR. In June, the Rent Guidelines Board approved rent hikes of 2.75 percent for the first year of two-year leases, and 3.20 percent for the second year.

Landlord lobbyist groups have gone so far as to petition the U.S. Supreme Court to review the law, an ask that the high court denied three separate times. The petitioners claimed that eviction protections for tenants violate their property rights, and took issue with rent-stabilization reducing their revenues.

The Rent Stabilization Association of New York, one prominent landlord lobbyist group, issued a March 6 memo opposing the now-enacted rent stabilization extension bill. The memo instead urged the city to “unfreeze” apartment rents. It also claimed that rent-stabilization is a system that “arbitrarily sets rents,” and asked the City Council to reduce the property taxes of its members instead.

This argument did not gain much traction among City Council members. “Our city is facing a housing emergency with a dire shortage of available homes that impacts all New Yorkers,” said City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams. “The signing of this legislation into law extends the New York City Rent Stabilization Law of 1969 to ensure rent regulation protections can continue unimpeded within our city.”

Meanwhile, in Albany, housing is one of the major hurdles standing in the way of finalizing a new state budget. Gov. Kathy Hochul had tried to push affordable housing through in last year’s budget, which was stymied by suburban legislators.

State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins noted that she did not expect to finalize a budget before the April 1 deadline. She reportedly said she is looking for a “holistic” package with incentives for building new housing, as well as tenant protections involving “good cause” eviction laws.

“We are all on the same planet, we are all working towards trying to get that grand plan that will not only address affordability but address the needs of supply as well as the needs of tenant protections,” Stewart-Cousins said.

State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is said to be on board with similar plans, according to City & State. He told reporters earlier this week that there was consensus regarding new tenant protections in a housing deal.

“I don’t want to speak for her,” Heastie reportedly said, “but I think there’s a wide understanding. And that’s what I mean about us being on the same planet. I don’t know if we’re in the same country yet.”