The State Assembly passed a bill on Monday that would strengthen rent regulation, while setting up a possible showdown with the Senate and the real estate industry.
State laws that limit the rent that landlords can charge on more than one million apartments in New York City and the suburbs are set to expire on June 15. Democratic legislators from the city and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo had sought to extend and expand the laws during budget negotiations last month, until the Senate Republican leader, Dean G. Skelos, rejected the idea, threatening to delay the budget.
The bill in the Democratic-controlled Assembly would extend rent regulations until 2016. It would do away with vacancy decontrol, which lets landlords deregulate apartments when they become vacant and their rent exceeds $2,000. It would alter luxury decontrol, which lets owners deregulate apartments when the tenants’ income exceeds $175,000 and the rent is at least $2,000. Those limits would rise to $300,000 and $3,000. The bill would also limit rent increases for new tenants to 10 percent, down from 20 percent.
“Every year more than 10,000 rent-regulated apartments are lost because of loopholes in the rent laws,” the Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, said in a statement.
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A year of negotiations between the Battery Park City Authority and a committee of representatives from the 11 original condominiums in the south neighborhood has yielded a tentative, 30-year agreement to roll back drastic increases in ground rent for apartment owners that would have started next year and continued for decades. The accord, brokered by New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, will save condo owners some $280 million over the next three decades.
“This has been going on for more than a year,” explained Rector Place condo owner Anthony Notaro, who was a member of the negotiating committee representing the 11 buildings. “We went through two different administrations at the Authority,” he added, in a reference to the change in both the 2010 change in both the BPCA’s board chairmanship and its presidency. He noted that the Authority, “always acted in good faith. They bargained fairly, but very hard. So when we finally reached a point where we felt like we couldn’t give any more, we turned to Speaker Silver. He weighed in with the BPCA and in a matter of weeks, we had an agreement.” Mr. Notaro continued that, “the Authority will still get increases in ground rent, so this is not a windfall or a giveaway. Everybody will pay more than they did before, for every year, but the increases will be less steep than they would have been.” He also observed, “the biggest benefit comes in 2027, when we roll back what would have been a catastrophic increase for everybody.”
In a statement, Mr. Silver said, “this agreement will protect Battery Park City residents from staggering increases that would have caused crushing financial burdens during a time of economic difficulty. By restructuring this payment plan, we will be able to keep more middle-class families in their homes and maintain Battery Park City as the world-class community that it is.”
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After sitting fallow for 43 years as the Lower East Side’s popularity soared, a desolate stretch of parking lots along Delancey Street is closer than ever to being transformed into housing and shops, marking the end of a long and bitter stalemate over the future of the sites.
On Tuesday night, Community Board 3 voted unanimously in favor of guidelines to develop the five parcels, collectively known as the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area.
Under the guidelines, the properties would become the site of about 1,000 housing units — roughly half of which would be allocated to middle- and low-income earners — along with retail shops, green space and, potentially, a school.
On Monday, after a subcommittee approved the guidelines, the State Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, whose district includes the land, gave the plan crucial support. “The final guidelines that were approved by the committee tonight strike an appropriate balance between the needs and concerns of all stakeholders,” Mr. Silver said in a statement, “and will result in a development that will ensure our neighborhood continues to thrive.”
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Nathaniel Brooks for The New York Times
Sheldon Silver, the assembly speaker, in the chamber in Albany last week.
ALBANY — Democratic leaders in the State Assembly are signaling that they are ready to embrace a cap on local property taxes, which could clear the way for its passage this year.
The cap, popular with voters in New York’s suburbs, who pay some of the highest property taxes in the nation, is one of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s top priorities and already has support from the Republican-led State Senate.
But in what will very likely be one of the defining legislative battles of the year, Assembly leaders are indicating they want something else for their mostly urban constituents: stricter rent regulations for New York City, a measure strongly opposed by Republicans and the real estate interests that helped Mr. Cuomo capture the governor’s office in November.
“In a day and age when we’re talking about giving people the ability to live in their homes and not be priced out of their homes, we should not forget people who have rent protections,” the Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, said, adding, “I just think the philosophy behind the tax cap is the same as the philosophy behind rent regulation.”
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BPCA, which oversaw design process, will manage construction
Lower Manhattan residents who can’t avoid crossing West Street in the vicinity of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel got an early Christmas present at the Monday board meeting of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), which approved more than $20 million in funding for the long-requested, much-delayed pedestrian bridge over West Thames Street.
“This is terrific news,” said Community Board 1 (CB1) chair Julie Menin, who also serves on the LMDC board. Ms. Menin led the fight earlier this year to have more than $200 million of federal funding, originally allocated to the LMDC to defray the cost of utility reconstruction Downtown, redirected to what she calls “critically important, worthy projects for the residents of this community.” She cites the West Thames pedestrian bridge — a design for which was unveiled in June 2009, only to have the Bloomberg administration cut funding for the project a few months later — as one example of the kind of project that will be funded by this money.
State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said in a statement, “after a year of leading the effort to build a pedestrian bridge at West Thames Street, I am extremely pleased that we have succeeded in getting the funding approved. Improving safety along dangerous intersections at West Street has been a top priority for me and this latest decision is one that could well save lives. With the successful opening of PS 276 this past September, children and their parents will now have a safe and reliable way to cross over West Street at an intersection that sees heavy traffic, particularly trucks and other large vehicles coming and going from the World Trade Center site.”
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