Gov. Hochul Pushes Amendments to Ease New Rent Bill Provisions Most Feared by Landlords

When initially announced, the legislation signed by Governor Hochul on December 22nd, which expanded the definition of fraud in rent overcharge cases, Jay Martin, the executive director of the Community Housing improvement Program stated that, “This could very well be the nail in the coffin for rent-stabilized housing.” Recently, chapter amendments made by Governor Hochul are intended to eliminate some of the provisions within the legislation most feared by landlords. Among the chapter amendments is a broadening of the definition of fraud which will now “require a court to establish that an owner ‘knowingly’ committed fraud;” and the removal of a provision requiring “owners who deregulated their building decades ago through substantial rehabilitation to prove to the state’s housing regulator that it was done so legally,” but instead will no longer be retroactive and apply to substantial work starting on or after January 1, 2024 whereby the property owner will be required to apply for approval of deregulation with the Department of Homes and Community Renewal (DHCR). Although as of January 5th the Senate’s chapter amendments had yet to be introduced, at which time will then need to be passed by the Legislature before being signed by Governor Hochul, the changes are a win for landlords.