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Big Real Estate Peddles the Myth That NY Rent Control Mainly Targets Small Landlords

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Previously unreleased data shows private equity’s stranglehold over New York City housing, and its practice of wide-scale eviction.

On Saturday, New York State adopted a massive overhaul of its rent regulations, enacting a historic tip of the scale in favor of tenants over landlords. The laws close a number of loopholes in the previous rent regulations that landlords have long exploited to raise rents and evict tenants—methods that have shrunk New York City’s supply of rent-stabilized apartments, in particular, by tens of thousands of units in the past few years alone.

The bills limit the ability of landlords of the city’s nearly one million rent-regulated apartments to raise rents when a unit becomes vacant or needs repairs, gives renters additional protections against eviction, and ends a practice called “vacancy decontrol,” through which a vacant rent-stabilized apartment could revert to market-rate if the rent reached a certain amount. The legislation also allows municipalities across the state to adopt their own rent regulations, among other provisions.

Unsurprisingly, the changes have prompted massive protest from the state’s high-powered real-estate industry. In the months leading up to the previous laws’ expiration, the state’s biggest real-estate trade associations created organizations like Responsible Rent Reform and the Alliance for Rental Excellence to pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into ad campaigns and to organize protests at the state house. The industry sent bus-loads of construction workers to Albany, replete with matching T-shirts and signs, to argue that the new legislation will remove incentives for landlords to repair apartments, hurting both the city’s housing stock and construction workers.

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