Council Renews Rent Stabilization

The City Council voted Mar. 15 to extend the Rent Stabilization Law until April 1, 2015. The vote was 48-3.

The vote, needed to continue rent stabilization in the city beyond April 1, was specifically on a resolution declaring that a “housing emergency,” the legal requirement for authorizing rent regulations, continues to exist.

State law defines a housing emergency as less than 5 percent of rental units in the city being vacant. Such a shortage indicates that the market is so tight that tenants would be vulnerable to rent-gouging if not protected by regulations. The recent Housing and Vacancy Survey, commissioned by the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development, estimated the city has about 68,000 vacant rental units, for a vacancy rate of 3.1 percent.

 “Without the protections afforded to one million tenants through the Rent Stabilization Law, renters would otherwise face an uneven playing field and many would be forced out of homes, neighborhoods, and the city altogether,” Council Speaker Christine Quinn said in a statement.

Councilmember Sara Gonzalez (D-Brooklyn) was lead sponsor. The dissenters were three of the Council’s five Republicans: Daniel Halloran of Queens, and James Oddo and Vincent Ignizio of Staten Island.