State Legislature Strengthens Rent Controls

Statewide property tax cap also approved by lawmakers

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP

    Detailed legislation to establish a statewide property tax cap, continue New York City rent controls and challenge unwieldy state mandates was approved Friday night by the state Legislature.

    The property tax provision in the bill approved Friday night by the Senate and Assembly would generally limit annual tax increases to 2 percent or the inflation rate. It will take effect for the 2012 fiscal year for local governments and for the 2012-13 school budget year.

    "New Yorkers pay the highest property taxes in the country, and they're sick and tired of having their taxes rise year after year, sometimes in double digits," said Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, a Long Island Republican.

    For school districts, the 2 percent cap may be exceeded with 60 percent of a public vote. For local governments, the cap may be exceeded with the approval of 60 percent of the governing body.

    The cap would sunset at the end of 2016, unless rent regulation laws are extended, in which case the cap would continue as long as rent regulation laws remain in effect.

    The 146-page bill codified agreements among legislative leaders and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to restore for four more years the expiring city rent controls on roughly a million apartments housing some 2.5 million tenants.

    It raises the thresholds for rent and tenant income that allow landlords to deregulate apartments. The rent ceiling will rise from $2,000 to $2,500. Eligible tenant incomes will increase from $175,000 to $200,000.

    A new mandate relief council will review municipal and school district complaints about burdensome regulations. A two-thirds council vote would refer them to the governor for repeal or modification.

    The Senate voted 57-5 for the bill. The Assembly approved it 114-15.

    Some legislators said they wanted stronger rent protections in a city that's becoming increasingly unaffordable for many.