State law requires rent stabilization laws to be renewed periodically based on housing vacancy rates. On March 10, 2022, the City Council voted to extend the City’s Rent Stabilization Law by providing more time to gather data to ensure the rent stabilization law is still necessary. The bill, Int. 70, was sponsored by Council Member Pierina Ana Sanchez.
According to state law, to maintain the rent stabilization law the City Council must periodically determine whether an ongoing housing emergency exists. An ongoing housing emergency is defined as a vacancy rate of less than five percent of the City’s rental housing stock. If the vacancy rate is less than five percent, the City Council can then pass legislation to extend the Rent Stabilization Law until the next time the law needs to be reviewed.
The vacancy rate is determined through a Housing and Vacancy Survey. The most recent survey occurred in 2017, which indicated a 3.63 percent vacancy rate. The next survey was scheduled for 2020, but was postponed to 2021 due to the Census. The determination period was then extended to April 1, 2022.
Additional delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in Governor Kathy Hochul amending the Local Emergency Housing Rent Control Act to authorize an additional extension for time for the survey to be completed to July 1, 2022. The City Council’s bill amends the expiration date of the New York City Rent Stabilization Law to match the State’s amendment, allowing for more time to review the survey data.
Council Speaker Adrienne Adams stated, “The pandemic is still impacting New York City on multiple fronts, including exacerbating the housing affordability crisis that pre-dated the arrival of COVID. Extending the period of determination for our City’s housing emergency will allow tenants to remain protected under rent stabilization laws for additional time. I thank Council Member Sanchez for her leadership on this important legislation.”
Council Member Sanchez stated, “Today I am proud and excited to sponsor my very first bill in the City Council: Intro. 70. This bill, which passed in the Housing and Buildings Committee and is slated to be voted on at today’s Stated Meeting, is critical to ensuring rent stabilization can continue in New York City, upon proper finding in the City’s Housing Vacancy Survey. Last year, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, in collaboration with the U.S. Census Bureau, conducted the City’s triennial Housing and Vacancy Survey, or HVS. The HVS is a critical survey used to determine whether the City’s rent stabilization laws can continue. Ordinarily, the HVS is conducted every three years, and was last scheduled to take place in 2020. That year’s HVS was postponed in part due to the 2020 census and delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. . . The extension this bill grants will provide HPD and the U.S. Census bureau additional time to thoroughly complete their analysis of the 2021 HVS. . . This is important as Rent Stabilization laws protect 1 million renter households each year from wrongful eviction and unreasonable rent increases. I am excited to carry this bill so crucial to everyday New Yorkers.”
By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)