De Blasio Trashes ‘Albany at Its Worst’ as Clock Ticks on Rent Laws

Warning of the "end of New York City as we know it," Bill de Blasio demanded "leadership" from Andrew Cuomo, the State Senate and Assembly.

Bill de Blasio earlier this month. (Photo: Rob Bennett/NYC Mayor's Office)
Bill de Blasio earlier this year. (Photo: Rob Bennett/NYC Mayor’s Office)

Mayor Bill de Blasio lashed out again today at Albany for the ongoing legislative logjam over the city’s rent laws—which are set to expire at midnight.

Mr. de Blasio again lambasted the stalled status of the regulations affecting upwards of one million apartments and two million tenants, comparing the present stalemate with partisan gridlock in Washington, D.C.

“This is really Albany at its worst,” Mr. de Blasio said in an interview on WCBS 880, calling on residents of the city to contact the governor’s office and the State Legislature and voice their concerns.”If rent regulation expires, it’s the end of New York City as we know it.”

The mayor’s allies in the Democrat-dominated Assembly has passed a bill that would make the regulations more tenant friendly, including a Cuomo-endorsed provision that would eliminate a landlord’s ability to remove an apartment from the rent control system should in become unoccupied. The State Senate responded late last week by putting forward a straight eight-year extension of the existing statutes, which Mr. de Blasio warned would result in the continued hemorrhaging of price-controlled units.

“Everybody knows stories of people who were priced out of the neighborhood and priced out of the city,” he said. “We have a reality where we have purely a crisis, the only word to use is a crisis, when it comes to affordable housing.”

“We need all of them together, we particularly need the governor to lead here to get them all on the same page.” he continued.

Lawmakers are reportedly considering a short-term extension of the current laws that would punt the expiration to next year. Mr. de Blasio called such a move “unacceptable” and a sign “people are not doing their job,” before finally seeming to endorse such a measure as superior to the total loss of rent regulations.

“I would not be shocked by a short-term extender,” he said. “Hopefully, they’ll resolve it today, or do a short-term extender that at least gives some time to get to a more sensible solution.”

Mr. de Blasio invested substantial political capital in a failed effort to help the State Senate Democrats overthrow the GOP majority in last year’s elections. His agenda, much of which requires Albany’s imprimatur, has faced an icy reception in the upper house of the State Legislature since.

Assembly Housing Committee Chairman Keith Wright has threatened to obstruct the renewal of the controversial 421a tax credit—precious to the real estate interests that bankrolled the State Senate GOP’s victories—unless the Democratic proposal for the rent laws goes through.

Mr. de Blasio also stands to lose mayoral control over the city’s schools should the State Legislature and governor fail to come to a consensus on the program by the end of the legislative session on Wednesday. Mr. Cuomo, however, signaled last week that he was willing to keep the Senate and Assembly in session past the deadline to resolve outstanding issues.

De Blasio Trashes ‘Albany at Its Worst’ as Clock Ticks on Rent Laws