VIDEO: Policy Breakfast on Reforming Rent Stabilization in New York City
Close to 1 million apartments in New York City are subject to the state’s rent stabilization laws, which regulate how rents can rise. In June, 2019, those laws are set to expire. On November 29th, 2018 the NYU Furman Center hosted an event to bring experts together to explore ideas for reforming the rent laws.
The Furman Center’s Executive Director Jessica Yager presented some facts about rent stabilization, including outlining the present rent stabilization laws, trends of stabilized units in New York City, and reform proposals currently pending in Albany.
Following the presentation, a panel held a spirited debate over the effectiveness of the current system in protecting both landlords and tenants, and proposed their own ideas for rent reform. The discussion examined inequities within the rent stabilization laws, the difficulties in balancing tenant protection and the ability of owners to get a fair return, and the economics of rent regulation and its impact on addressing the affordable housing crisis.
NYU Furman Center Senior Policy Fellow Mark Wills moderated the panel, which included:
- Judith Goldiner, Attorney –in-Charge, The Legal Aid Society, Civil Law Reform Unit
- Betsy Mallow, Executive Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer, New York State Homes and Community Renewal
- Dr. Christopher J. Mayer, Co-Director, Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate, Columbia Business School
- Joseph Strasburg, President, Rent Stabilization Association
Each panelists outlined a starkly different approach for dealing with the competing interests involved in rent regulation. Judith Goldiner of the Legal Aid Society suggested eliminating the vacancy bonus, creating stricter eviction protections, and making preferential rent equal to the legal rent. Betsy Mallow outlined enforcement reforms, stressed more transparency from the government in tenant issues, and signaled that the Governor was open to eliminating vacancy decontrol. Christopher Mayer suggested evaluating whether rent-stabilization is accomplishing its policy goals, and suggested that the government should develop more affordable housing. Joseph Strasburg focused on policing poor-behaving landlords to protect tenants, and making investment in New York apartments attractive by rewarding well-behaving landlords.