The New York City Council passed a bill last week to extend the Rent Stabilization Law from April 1 of this year until April 1, 2015.
The bill was passed along with a Resolution declaring that New York City still experiences an affordable housing emergency.
According to a recent survey from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, there is a citywide vacancy rate of 3.12 percent. A vacancy rate below the 5 percent threshold demonstrates a housing emergency, according to Speaker Christine Quinn.
“Without the protections afforded to at least one million tenants through the rent stabilization law,” Quinn said before a stated meeting in City Hall on March 14, “renters would otherwise face an uneven playing field and many would be forced out of their homes, their neighborhoods, and maybe even the city.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg must sign off on the bill for the extension to be enacted.
Rent stabilization was created by the city in post-war 1969 when tenants were experiencing a sharp rise in rent. Currently, about one million apartments in the city are rent-stabilized, according to the city Rent Guidelines Board.
Tenants covered by the law are protected from rental increases and have the right to renew their leases.
Most rent-stabilized apartments are in buildings of six or more units that were constructed between February 1, 1947, and January 1, 1974.
Tenants who, after June 30, 1971, moved into buildings of six or more units that were built after February 1, 1947, are also covered by the law, according to the Board.
The law also allows the City Council to review information regarding housing supply and conditions to assess whether a housing emergency exists, according to Quinn.
“Extending this law is the right thing to do, it helps protect affordability in our neighborhoods,” she said.
According to Councilman Erik Martin Dilan, who represents Bushwick and Cypress Hills, the city Housing Commissioner reported in a recent survey that rental apartments are in the best condition ever in the city’s history.
“Additionally,” Dilan said in the stated meeting, “it showed that during a down economy, we’ve added about 100,000 units onto the rental market since the last survey three years ago.”
However, the downside is that many previously rent-controlled apartments became market rate in recent years, he said.