This week, New York's state legislature and Gov. Cuomo renewed—and made permanent—the state's rent-regulation laws governing New York City.
Rent regulations do not help poorer or elderly New Yorkers in an efficient, rational manner. Nine percent of regulated tenants make above $70,000 a year; one-third have a college degree. Meanwhile, 13 percent of market-rate tenants live in poverty, and do not benefit from rent-regulation laws.
Ending vacancy decontrol—that is, stopping the practice of taking empty apartments off the regulated rolls once the monthly rent reaches $2,700—is a giveaway to newcomers to the city who earn nearly six figures. To be approved to rent an apartment at above $2,700 a month, a potential tenant must earn $80,000 or above, hardly a group that needs special protection from market rents. Likewise, ending decontrol of occupied apartments for tenants who make above $200,000 a year represents a new government protection for tenants who don't need such protection.
Giving judges new authority to postpone evictions for up to a year "if the tenant cannot find a similar suitable dwelling in the same neighborhood after due and reasonable efforts" transfers a portion of the responsibility for homeless New Yorkers from taxpayers to property owners. It also puts a new burden on other tenants, who must pay higher rent, or suffer worse building maintenance, to make up for the loss of income from keeping a tenant who cannot pay rent.
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