Michael Bloomberg doesn’t support giving New York City more control over its housing rules by repealing the Urstadt Law, which gives Albany lawmakers control over many of the city's housing regulations.
At a press conference where Bloomberg named his new housing commissioner, I asked the mayor about his position on repealing the Urstadt Law, which some Democrats at both the state and city level want to do.
“There’s a lot to be said about keeping some of these things at a higher level rather than at a lower level where, where there’s a lot more political pressure,” Bloomberg said. “We also have to be mindful that the housing rules in New York City can’t be enacted or maintained in a vacuum any more than the country’s laws in this day and age be maintained in a vacuum.”
Repealing the Urdstadt Law has been an issue with progressives for years, and now that Democrats have control of both houses of the State Legislature for the first time in decades, it's on the agenda.
Just yesterday, in her State of the City speech, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn—a former housing advocate—said “after nearly three decades, we’ll finally undo Urstadt and take back home rule for our tenants. Control over our own housing policy will be back in New York City, where it has always belonged.”
At least one of Bloomberg's mayoral opponents is likely to make an issue out of Albany's continuing control over city housing laws. Representative Anthony Weiner has said Albany is plagued with "dysfunction" and that by comparison, people in New York City are "the adults. We should be supervising them."