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In the course of cultivating his conciliatory new image, Joe Bruno quietly opened a new front in the rent wars: targeting the rights of tenants and their families to keep their apartments perpetually.

On a Thursday trip to New York City, Bruno told reporters and supporters that he intended to attack state legal provisions guaranteeing tenants in rent-regulated buildings of their right to renew their leases. He also said he would try to kill state regualtions guaranteeing “succession” — the state mandate permitting family members or domestic partners from inheriting rent-stabilized apartments from leaseholders who die or move out.

“Common sense tells me that if I don’t own something then I shouldn’t have the right to will it to someone else,” Bruno said. Under current state law, rent stabilized tenants have the right to be offered lease renewals every one or two years. The succession right is given to blood relatives or domestic partners who have lived in an apartment as their primary residence for two years.

“The succession issue is something we haven’t seen before and it’s definitely going to be a key element on the table,” says Billy Easton, Albany lobbyist for the New York State Tenants and Neighbors Coalition.

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