Budget Deal Done, Rent Battles Loom

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The state budget done and a rent-regs deadline looming, it might be time for the mayor to dish on how he wants to see 421-a reformed.

Rob Bennett for the Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio

The state budget done and a rent-regs deadline looming, it might be time for the mayor to dish on how he wants to see 421-a reformed.

Is it time for the other shoe to drop?

For months now discussion of the details of state rent-regulation renewal has been set aside until “after the budget.” Word Monday that the framework of a budget deal is in place in Albany might finally clear the way for brass-talks talk. Appropriately, Mayor de Blasio plans on Monday to sign the Council bill, known as Intro 685, that formally calls for renewal of the rent laws.

Trouble is, a lot of the issues that had been wrapped up in the budget got unwrapped from it over the past few days. Mayoral control of schools, the education tax credit, the DREAM Act, the minimum wage and several other juicy topics will, according to published reports, remain on the legislatures plate even after the budget passes.

That means Albany’s attention will still be divided. It also means the city’s limited political capital will still need to be applied in several places. Both were considerations in the de Blasio administration saying little about what it seeks on some of the nitty-gritty details of rent-regulation reform (like how it feels about preferential rents, for instance) and revealing almost nothing about how the 421-a real-estate tax break should be revised.

The question now is whether City Hall will start to show its cards or continue to allow 421-a fans (like REBNY) and detractors (just about everyone else) to skirmish over the issue. What makes 421-a interesting is that it ties together the Albany debate and questions about how the mayor’s affordable housing plan is shaping up.

And in case you needed another housing-related storyline, the annual Rent Guidelines Board hearings about how much to hike rents on stabilized apartments are starting to ramp up.

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