There are a series of moving parts that all need to fit together before a housing deal comes together in Albany. These include tenant protections, a wage deal between developers and construction unions, a tax break for developers, the removal of density regulations and new allowances for office conversions.

One new hurdle is a demand by developers to roll back certain tenant protections that were passed into law in 2019.

One such provision would allow landlords to raise rents on vacant rent-stabilized apartments in New York City, something that tenants’ rights advocates, as well as many lawmakers, are dismissing as too onerous on tenants.

“We can’t let a deal rest on tenants who will be increasingly subjected to harassment and eviction if all elements of the deal are not fair,” New York Assembly Housing Committee Chair Linda Rosenthal told Capital Tonight. 

Forty-two state lawmakers, including such powerful leaders as state Sen. Mike Gianaris, the Senate deputy leader, and state Sen. Liz Krueger, the Senate Finance Committee chair, are pushing back on the changes being floated.

Specifically, landlords are looking to increase the amount of money they may spend on renovations that are then passed onto tenants, which are called “individual apartment improvements,” or IAIs.

Currently, the law limits improvements to $15,000, which landlords argue isn’t enough.

According to an analysis by the tenants’ rights group Housing Justice for All, if the law is changed to $150,000, the rent hike would be equivalent to an additional $833 per month in large apartment buildings. If the limit is raised to $50,000, the rent hike would be equivalent to an additional $278 per month. 

When asked if she was amenable to tweaking the cap on improvements, Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal said yes. 

“Tweaking $15,000? That’s perfectly fine. Going up to $100,000? Not acceptable,” she said. “What’s the right amount and what kind of oversight and supervision will there be to insure there’s no fraud is the key question.”