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Mayor signs bill extending New York City rent control law

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(The Center Square) – New York City Mayor Eric Adams has extended the city’s rent stabilization law by another three years following an unsuccessful Supreme Court challenge by landlords.

The measure signed by Adams on Tuesday extends the city’s rent stabilization law until April 1, 2027, and declares the city is facing a “housing emergency,” calling on the state government to support broader efforts to build more housing.

“Our rent stabilization laws are critical to the security of working-class New Yorkers who live in rent-stabilized housing,” Adams said in remarks on Tuesday. “With a historic-low 1.4% vacancy rate, our administration again calls on our colleagues in Albany to say ‘yes’ to more affordable housing, and to help us deliver more housing for the city and our state.”

New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams said the extension of the rent control law will “ensure rent regulation protections can continue unimpeded” in the Big Apple.

“Our city is facing a housing emergency with a dire shortage of available homes that impacts all New Yorkers,” she said in remarks. “We all must remain focused on pursuing the many necessary solutions to confront the housing crisis that makes our city less affordable to all New Yorkers.”

The city’s rent stabilization law, first enacted in 1969, restricts annual rent increases for specific apartments, with any increases set annually by a nine-member board appointed by the mayor. It affects roughly 1 million apartments in the city and has survived dozens of legal challenges over the past several decades.

Critics have described the rent control system as “welfare for the rich” and said that New York City is losing millions of dollars a year in potential revenue from the costly housing regulatory system.

Supporters of the rent control law say it’s a crucial safety-net in a city with some of the highest rents in the nation and a lack of affordable housing that is contributing to people leaving the state.

A 2019 update to the law beefed up rental eviction protections and eliminated a provision that had allowed landlords to get around rent control limits.

Landlords say the update to the law “supersized” the rent restrictions, shifting even more cost to private property owners and preventing them from evicting problem tenants.

They filed a lawsuit to block the changes, which was rejected by a U.S. District Court judge whose decision was upheld by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling. The panel of judges noted previous state and federal court rulings striking down challenges to New York City’s rent control law.

The plaintiffs, which include several New York City property owners, said in the petition the rent control law violates the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment, which provides that private property shall not “be taken for public use, without just compensation.” They petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court, but justices declined to take up the legal challenge.

“Declaring a housing emergency and extending rent stabilization another three years is a necessary step to protect some of the most vulnerable renters from unaffordable rent increases, but it does not get us out of this crisis,” New York City Housing Commissioner Adolfo Carrión Jr. said in a statement.

“We are renewing our calls for all levels of government to step up and deliver the tools we need to build housing at the scale this crisis demands,” he added. “Everyone must step up.”