6 Ways New Rent Laws Will Affect New Yorkers

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It’s Monday. Where is New York’s biggest gay pride flag? It may be on Roosevelt Island, according to The Daily News.

Weather: A high in the upper 70s, with a chance of rain in the afternoon. Brace yourself for more wet days ahead.

Alternate-side parking: In effect until July 4.

New York City has more than eight million residents. More than 65 percent of them are renters, one of the highest percentages in the country.

Last week, their rent laws changed drastically.

What happened?

State lawmakers passed legislation to keep more apartments inside New York’s regulatory system, and they created new limits on how much landlords can charge tenants up front and throughout the year.

For renters:

  • Illegal evictions are now misdemeanors punishable by civil penalties between $1,000 and $10,000 per violation.

For renters in regulated apartments:

  • If an apartment is regulated, there are limits on how much rent a landlord can charge. Previously, regulated apartments could become deregulated if the monthly rent, or a tenant’s income, exceeded certain financial thresholds. Now regulated apartments will remain regulated, regardless of the rent or the tenant’s income.

  • The landlord of a small building can only add up to $89 to a tenant’s rent for renovations made to an apartment between vacancies. That charge expires after 30 years. Previously, those charges could be as high as $1,000 and did not expire.

Why now?

Democrats harnessed their new powers after winning control of the Legislature in 2018.

What are people saying?

Landlords say the new rules are too restrictive and will not create new units or incentive for the proper upkeep of existing ones. They say the changes could lead to a new housing crisis.

[The rent laws’ impact: A tenant paradise or the return of the ‘Bronx is burning’?]

Tenant advocates say the laws are desperately needed. They also say landlords used previous rules to raise rents and make room for higher-paying tenants.

What’s next?

Real estate industry insiders signaled that a lawsuit could be filed. They argue that the new laws should not be permanent because the ability to regulate rents is contingent on the existence of a housing crisis. Another argument could target the retroactive rule that limits how much landlords can charge tenants for past upgrades.

Tenant advocates want to move in the other direction. Initially they sought a law that would essentially create a rent cap for all renters, as well as make it harder for landlords to evict tenants. Next year, they could renew the push for those changes.

What is the big picture?

How important is real estate to New York? “It is New York,” The Times’s Luis Ferré-Sadurní, who reports on housing, told me.

We spoke on the 14th floor of The Times’s tower in Manhattan. It is one of the buildings that might have not been built vertically if New York had more space horizontally.

The Times’s Patrick McGeehan reports:

Today is the first day of a season of hardship for some suburbanites who commute through Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan.

For the third consecutive summer, Amtrak will be reducing the number of trains coming in and out while it repairs tracks beneath the station. The work is scheduled to start July 1, and the Long Island Rail Road is waiting until then to adjust its schedules. But New Jersey Transit is getting a head start on the disruption.

First to be inconvenienced will be riders on the Montclair-Boonton and North Jersey Coast lines. Five morning-rush trains will be diverted to Hoboken Terminal, where Manhattan-bound passengers will have to transfer to a PATH train or a ferry. Five evening trains that usually leave from Penn Station will depart from Hoboken.

In two weeks, the Long Island Rail Road will adjust its schedule, diverting or canceling seven trains each morning and evening. The railroad said it would add trains at other times and cars to some existing trains to maintain its daily capacity.

The work is scheduled to be completed by Labor Day.

On Staten Island, the city is looking to reduce the deer population through vasectomies. [Staten Island Advance]

There are at least three inquiries looking at whether Lynne Patton, the local federal housing official, violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from politicking. [The City]

A conversation on creative educational practice, including how the classroom can be a space for activism, with three artists and educators at the Magnum Foundation in Manhattan. 6:30 p.m. [Free]

Frank Warren of PostSecret gives an interactive talk on the power of secrets to connect and divide at the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan. 7 p.m. [$39]

The Franklin Park Reading Series in Brooklyn begins with poetry and fiction from several authors, including Mahogany L. Browne of “Black Girl Magic.” 8 p.m. [Free]

— Vivian Ewing

Events are subject to change, so double-check before heading out. For more events, see the going-out guides from The Times’s culture pages.

An excerpt from an article by The Times’s John Leland:

At Hunter College High School in Manhattan, the rite of passage comes in 10th grade. Students choose a day to take home one of 12 robot babies after school, then return it the next morning.

The RealCare Baby 3 robots record whether the students provided a bottle or fresh diaper, hit or shook the baby, neglected it or failed to support its head. The school grades gently, in order not to permanently scare students from parenthood.

Forrest Bicker, whose baby interfered with his debate preparation, said the assignment made the child care experience much more real. “Now you know what it’s like when it’s 2 a.m. and they’re crying.”

Dr. Tony Fisher, the principal at Hunter, said the robot baby program wasn’t primarily intended to reduce pregnancy. But it helped students appreciate the challenges of parenting, especially for “a generation of students who manage many emotional obstacles through a mobile phone,” he said. “While we do not have research to support the statistical effect of this project, we do have decades of written reports by our students which speak eloquently to the perspectives they have gained.”

It’s Monday — take care of your robots.

Dear Diary:

It was spring 1975. My father had come to visit from Seattle. I was starting my career as a dancer with the New York City Ballet.

On Monday, my day off, we rented bikes and proceeded to check out the blossoming trees in Riverside Park.

All was going well when I noticed a rustling under some shrubbery. A rat, I figured. Instead, we were surprised to see a red hen emerge from the greenery. Was it an escapee from a ritual ceremony? What should we do? How would it survive?

We decided to take action. I found a paper bag in the trash and we coerced the bird into it. With the bag swinging from my handlebars, we made our way to a nearby police station.

My father waited outside with the bikes while I did my civic duty.

“I found a chicken in the park,” I told the officer behind the glass.

“Living or dead?” he asked.

“Living,” I said.

After some discussion, it was agreed that the bird would live in Queens with one of the officers. He had a hen house.

I handed over the bag with the rescued hen and resumed my bike ride with my father. The park was in full bloom. It was one of the best days ever, for us and for that chicken.

— Cate Morris Leach

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