Locals React to Rent Law Impasse

IMAG0153Khristopher J. Brooks A sign created by advocates for new rent laws.

As the hours tick by and criticism mounts, state lawmakers have not settled on a renewal plan for New York City rent laws.

Legislators in Albany allowed the law to expire Wednesday night and they’re now in extra innings trying to develop a solution that satisfies both Assembly Democrats and Senate Republicans. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has said that he wants the law renewed in some form before the 2011 legislative session ends Monday.

Meanwhile, local tenants and tenant advocacy groups in our neighborhood are anxious to find out what will happen. They’re constantly checking news Web sites, e-mailing their contacts in the Capitol and taking their protest efforts to a higher level. Here’s some local reaction to the deliberations in Albany.

Steve Herrick
Executive Director
Cooper Square Committee

“I think it’s not surprising that it’s come down to the wire again because the Republicans have the majority in the Senate and so they have a little more leeway there, but luckily we have Gov. Cuomo on our side. Tenants are going to continue calling Cuomo and telling him they appreciate what he’s doing, but he has to continue to apply some pressure.”

Wasim Lone
Housing Services Director
Good Old Lower East Side

“For us, just renewing the law is a failure. For us, the question is the strengthening. The governor has come out and said he wants it strengthened, but how and where — we don’t know how that’s going. Yes, we should freak out because it expired, but there’s a bigger sense of urgency. What is the end game for these Republicans? It’s a guessing game. The sky isn’t falling, but there is a cause for utmost concern.”

Mary Tek
Campaign Manager
Real Rent Reform

“The Senate Democrats are holding out for stronger rent laws and I appreciate them taking a stance on that. The laws expiring was the Senate Democrats way of saying they’re serious about this. Serious negotiations are underway now and I want to be as much a part of that as possible. Part of my duty up here is to hold Governor Cuomo to his promise in that he’s going to push the Senate into passing stronger rent laws.”