Mayor Bill de Blasio joined Rev. Al Sharpton and a host of other Democratic politicians at a demonstration calling for the State Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign off on a package of proposals to maintain and strengthen the city’s rent laws.
The event, held outside the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building in Harlem and emceed by Assembly Housing Chair Keith Wright, drew a modest crowd of a few dozen people. Mr. de Blasio warned that only days remain before the end of the legislative session—and before New York City’s rent stabilization and rent control laws expire, which could leave roughly one million regulated apartments open to becoming market rate.
“Let’s be clear what’s happening: in the next two weeks in Albany, a decision that will affect well over 2 million New Yorkers who live in over a million apartments. This is the magnitude of what we face,” he said, warning of a potentially dire outcome. “If they do the wrong thing, they will damn thousands and thousands of New Yorkers to be displaced and not have an affordable place to live.”
Mr. de Blasio stressed that he would not be satisfied with a simple extension of the existing regulations, but called for preventing landlords from removing vacant apartments from the rent control program and from increasing the rent 20 percent on stabilized apartments once they become unoccupied. He also demanded new regulations making charges for major capital improvements a temporary, rather than permanent, add-on to a tenant’s rent.