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Legislature works out final version of rent control bill

Housing Advocates protest rent regulations at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y., Tuesday, June 14, 2011. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)
By Philip Newman

Legislative negotiators were working Wednesday toward final agreement on details of rent renewal regulations before they and other legislation come up for a vote, according to Albany sources.

Among issues still under negotiation were details of a statewide property tax cap, legislative sources said.

There was no immediate report on whether the legislators will vote on perhaps the most contested issue of all: same-sex marriage. It reportedly lacks one vote to guarantee passage in the state Senate. It has already been approved by the state Assembly.

Highlights of the rent renewal bill, which would expire after four years, are:

• a monthly rent of $2,500 would bring decontrol for a stabilized apartment,  up from $2,000

• the tenant income level for a controlled tenant rises from $175,000 to $200,000

Tenant advocates expressed dismay at the proposed rent-control legislation. They had, in particular, campaigned for an end to vacancy decontrol, which they said has meant loss of thousands of rent-regulated apartments each year.

“This is not real rent reform,” said Michael McKee of the Tenants Political Action Committee.

Senate Republicans originally had offered to support only a renewal without change of the regulations.

A new part of the rent law requires landlords to document details and costs of renovations of rent-stabilized apartments before they can pass along such expenses to tenants.

The rent control laws originally were to have expired June 15. The state Legislature was supposed to have adjourned Monday.

The state Department of Housing and Community Renewal said Queens has 5,359 rent-controlled apartments and 153,352 apartments under rent stabilization.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledgernews@cnglocal.com or phone at 718-260-4536.

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