There's only a month to go before the rules that currently govern rent-stabilized apartments in New York expire -- and the issue is igniting a firestorm from both tenants and landlords.
In brief, here are some of the issues that are creating conflict and alarming just about everybody on both sides of the fence:
There's a housing crisis in New York City
If you live anywhere in the city, that's not news. Affordable housing is hard to find. Even though there's been more affordable housing built in recent years, thousands of other rent-regulated apartments have been removed from regulation due to loopholes in the laws that landlords say are necessary to keep their buildings in good repair.
Tenants want to see rent reforms that will ease conditions
Advocates for tenants would like to see something called "universal rent control" put into place. The changes they would like to see include ending decontrol rules that kick in when a current tenant breaks the lease on some apartments, ending the "vacancy bonus" that lets landlords raise rents by 20% between tenants in other apartments and closing the two major loopholes that otherwise allow deregulation.
Landlords say tenants will also suffer if these measures go through
The two big loopholes in regulation are due to major capital improvements (MCI) and individual apartment improvements (IAI). Without these provisions, however, landlords may be unable to afford to keep properties up to date, which could cause tenants to end up in substandard housing.
Landlords say that they're not totally against rent reforms -- they just want a responsible package that won't endanger their livelihood or their tenants.
Whatever the outcome, there is likely to be a shakeup soon in the rules between tenants and landlords. That will make it more important than ever to seek experienced legal advice if you have a landlord-tenant dispute.