Silver: With Senate Flip, 2009 Will Be ‘Year of the Tenant’

silverapt Silver: With Senate Flip, 2009 Will Be Year of the TenantALBANY—Assembly Democrats are poised once again to pass a bunch of tweaks to tenant regulations, but this time the tweaks may actually become law.

Speaker Sheldon Silver cited the change in control of the State Senate as he made his pitch for legislation that will repeal the Urstadt Law, limiting the allowable increase in rent when "flipping" an apartment and raising the rental ceiling for taking apartments off the regulated rolls from $2,000 to $5,000 a month.

"This fall, tenant groups and working families across this state succeeded in changing the political landscape, and in doing so gave us our first real opportunity to fix this state's broken rent laws."

But still, with the State Senate split 32-30, with some of the majority members from distinctly non-liberal districts, passage there is uncertain. Silver said only that he talked to Smith about what he was proposing.

"This is not a political document. I think what we do is send over to the Senate something that's long overdue," he said. "I don't think this is one party's statement. What has happened in the past is that if some of these bills were allowed to the floor by Republican leadership, they might have passed in previous years. What I'm hopeful is that this year it can happen in the Senate where it can get out of committee."