$2,000 Rent-Deregulation Limit Up in the Air
(Wall Street Journal) — As legislators in Albany debate the future of the city’s rent laws, a key provision of the law that has allowed landlords to deregulate at least 100,000 apartments may be up for a change. Since 1993, state law has allowed landlords to convert vacant regulated apartments into market-rate units when their rents hit $2,000 a month. Over the years, the real-estate industry has strenuously resisted efforts by renters’ advocacy groups to increase that amount. The battle has been renewed with rent regulations up for renewal for the first time since 2003. Only now, the dynamic appears to be changing: a major landlord group is signaling openness to hiking the limit. “We are prepared to look at a higher number,” Steven Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York, a powerful lobbying group, said in an interview last week. “It depends what the rest of the package is.” Rent laws, which limit the ability of landlords to increase rents for about 1 million apartments citywide, sunset in June. If they’re not renewed, landlords of these units will be able to raise their rents to market rates.