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New Law Could Stop Rent Increases Linked To Capital Improvements

New York

A new law could stop rent hikes tied to capital improvements, and instead offer tax credits to landlords for making upgrades in their buildings.

State Sen. Michael Gianaris and state Assemblyman Brian Barnwell, both of whom represent Queens, say the legislation they are introducing will protect tenants, the New York Daily News reports.

Under the existing Major Capital Improvement Program, owners who put in new windows, boilers and roofs in rent-stabilized or rent-controlled apartments can raise the rent by up to 6% a year to cover the costs.

Barnwell told the Daily News that landlords have used it as tactic to push out renters.

“Under our legislation, landlords will not be able to increase tenants’ rents due to repairs/improvements the landlord should already have made,” he said.

Under the bill, if the Major Capital Improvements Program is repealed, people could try to get their rents back to pre-improvement levels. The program was introduced in the 1970s, but the lawmakers told the newspaper the bill is worded to limit rent reductions to a 10-year lookback period.

The Rent Stabilization Association, a landlord group, opposes the bill.

“It’s ridiculous,” spokesman Frank Ricci said, adding that the city’s housing supply is in good condition and 50% of the units are more than 75 years old.

“The only way to preserve the existing housing is to keep putting money back in and rehabbing,” he said.