As expected, the city's rent regulation rules expired last night amid political gridlock in Albany, and while Mayor Bill de Blasio has said that the loss of these regulations would be worse for New Yorkers than any natural disaster, we're guessing your apartment situation didn't change overnight, right?
Because while the thought of rent regulations expiring is unquestionably daunting, legislators are generally expected to come to some kind of agreement soon. Meantime, renters and politicians alike are on high alert for shady landlords trying to milk the situation. "The real story is, don't panic," as one tenant lawyer told the New York Times.
"I encourage you to stay in your apartment and not give in to pressure or harassment from your landlord," Comptroller Scott Stringer told DNAinfo. "The last time rent laws expired—for 48 hours in 2011—the new regulations were enacted retroactively, protecting those whose leases had expired when there were no regulations." As for de Blasio, he's also threatened to publicly shame landlords who try to use tenants' confusion to their advantage, according to the Observer.
If you do find yourself getting grief from your landlord while the law remains in limbo, keep in mind that they're still beholden to the terms of your current lease, and even if yours is up for renewal, they should have provided you with a new one between 90 to 150 days before your current one expires. In other words, if your landlord turns up today with a new lease for double the rent, you can rest assured it's almost certainly bogus. "We're not concerned about people losing their rights, we're concerned about landlords taking advantage of the confusion to harass rent regulated tenants," Ilana Maier, a Program Director with the Met Council on Housing tells us.
De Blasio is encouraging tenants to call 311 at the first sign of harassment, the Times reports, and Public Advocate Letitia James has set up both a hotline and an email address where tenants can seek help (212-669-7250 and [email protected], respectively). Additionally, the Met Council has a tenant help hotline at 212-979-0611. Maier also recommends that concerned tenants contact Cuomo's office to push the Governor to hurry up and get this legislation settled. "We don't want to go two weeks without rent laws because it increases the potential for landlords to take advantage," she explains.
The bottom line: While the slow progress in Albany is beyond irritating, it shouldn't end up costing you your apartment.