Strange Bedfellows: Rent Regulation and Marriage Equality

Real Estate Agent with Compass

It is always about deals in New York. Rent regulation, property tax caps and marriage equality rolled into one. Everybody wants something in NY state.

NY state lawmakers passed an emergency extension of rent regulation as they work out the final details of the plan. The new bill would raise the threshold for removing apartments from rent stabilization to $2,500 a month, up from $2,000. Tenants who make more than $200,000 a year would pay market rent. The current income ceiling is $175,000. (as one upstate Republican Senator is quoted as saying: "What's a tenant? - We don't have any of those up here".

I'm a Manhattanite and I'm a broker, I know what a tenant is. While, I believe in affordable housing for poor and middle class families (there are many programs besides rent regulation) it's interesting to know NY State considers $200,000/ year middle class and poor.

Perhaps in the outer boroughs middle and lower income families actually live in rent regulated apartments, but the coveted Manhattan rent stabilized apartments are in some of Manhattan's most sought-after buildings. Buildings that converted to coops or condos 25 years ago under non-evict plans. Today they are primarily occupied by affluent, connected Manhattanites that were fortunate enough to get the apartments 25-30 years ago or inherited them including former mayors, congressman, celebrities, real estate brokers and friends of landlords.

My first NY apartment was stabilized but I gave it up when I bought a coop more than 20 years ago. I became a home owner when my income was less than half the income threshold for rent stabilized subsidized apartments. Many of these tenants are holding out for huge payments from a developer or coop/condo board to vacate. Many rent regulated tenants have been offered $Millions for their apartments that they don't even own. They own in The Hamptons and Florida.

State legislators are also preparing for a possible vote to legalize same-sex marriage. A vote may come today it may not. Senate Republicans have been negotiating with Governor Andrew Cuomo on protections for religious groups although religious groups are already protected by law in New York state. The Governor and Assembly has agreed to the additional protections. The senate is afraid of an up and down vote so they're stalling. It's politics as usual.

Hopefully there will be ground breaking legislature by the end of the day.

The Marriage Equality bill if passed will not only be justice for New Yorkers but poetic justice since it will come during Gay pride week in NYC. An annual event celebrating gay pride that takes place in the West Village, the neighborhood of the Stonewall Riots where gay liberation began in 1969.

Stay posted!

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  1. Wallace S. Gibson, CPM 06/25/2011 05:32 AM
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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland


Jun 24, 2011 04:40 AM #1
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


Legislators unfortunately are obtuse and cannot make intelligent decisions, because they are beholding to all the money people that got them elected.  I do hope that New York will pave the way for intelligent decision making and recognizing that we are all in this together, and we all belong.  A

Jun 24, 2011 08:37 AM #2
Mitchell J Hall
Compass - Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn

Lenn, So far I can report they agreed on SUNY (State University of NY) tuition increase of $300/year for in state residents for the next 5 years and both sides of the aisle overwhelmingly passed a bill to make corn the official New York State vegetable.

Alexandra, Mayor Bloomberg who is a strong advocate for Marriage Equality unfortunately gave $millions to Republican candidates to ensure a Republican majority in the state senate. There is also plenty of tax exempt money and illegal lobbying from the Archdiocese of NY and it's vocal Archbishop Dolan. 


Jun 24, 2011 09:49 AM #3
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

Mitchell: Interesting, fact-filled post .. just as usual and what I have come to expect from you. All this haggling over things that should just be common sense, fact, or understood. Why we even need these laws addressing some of these issues is just so frustrating. The wheels of justice and change move too slowly ...


Jun 24, 2011 06:16 PM #4
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


They did it!  Sanity is starting to emerge, and I hope spreading to other places.  Ron and I talked about it this morning, and we were saying that marriage (man & woman), has been a stable datum for so many, and given all the changes, people are clinging to something stable in their lives...  Shifting paradigms is frightening to so many...A

Jun 25, 2011 04:44 AM #5
Peggy Hughes/pha logistix, inc.
pha logistix inc - San Francisco, CA

Hi Mitchell... I am so glad to see that equality prevailed and NY voted to allow same sex marriage!  Congrats on your well-written post... I'm also glad to see that tuition for residents is still pretty affordable.  Have a great weekend!

Jun 25, 2011 05:16 AM #6
Rich Quigley
Chicago, IL

Hey Mitchell big congratulations to you and your fellow New Yorkers! This is a great achievement.

We got civil unions here in Illinois June 1st. My partner and I had our ceremony on Tuesday. What a week!

Jun 25, 2011 05:41 AM #7
Mitchell J Hall
Compass - Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn

Gene, Thank you. I have to agree with the upstate Republicans on rent regulation. I believe some apartments should be regulated since I would never advocate evicting a senior citizen or somebody whose been in the apartment for years. But IMO market rate apartments would become much lower if many of the controlled apartments became deregulated. Simple supply and demand. New comers pay market rents. Former mayor Ed Koch never lived in Gracie Mansion because he prefered and still lves in his rent stabilized apartment at 2 Fifth Avenue. Mayor Bloomberg doesn't live there either because he prefers his own townhouse that he paid $45 million for. 

Alexandra, Thank you, yes, they did it. It is a shift in paradigm. NY while progressive politically and "anything goes" in many ways is still "old fashioned" and "traditional" Change is good. Even the real estate industry here has changed in the last 10 years and is finally embracing "transparency" I think the Marriage Equality bill will benifit the state and it's citizens.

Peggy, Yes, I am too. Governor Cuomo has delivered on alll his campaign promises. A fiscally conservative state budget and same - sex marriage. I'm glad SUNY, one of the best state University systems in the country is still affordable. Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Rich, Thank you and congratulations on your wedding and for civil unions in Illinois. In between my real estate duties today, I will try and catch gay pride festivities. I actually attended my first gay wedding almost 15 years ago. It was a big lavish affair at a catering Hall in the town of Sayville, NY where the ferry goes to Fire Island Pines and Cherry Grove. A lot of eye brows were raised even in the gay community. My friends wanted to push the envelope and they did. I've been to a few more since then including one at a Synagogue. It is now legal, this is a great achivement. 


Jun 26, 2011 03:39 AM #8
Brian Brady
San Diego VA Home Loans/858-777-9751 - San Diego, CA

As you might imagine, Mitch, this drives me nuts.  I still can't understand why the government should be sanctioning anyone's marriage (regardless of a person's choice of spouse) and why the government is telling private property owners what rent they can charge.  Last weekend was a step in the right direction for both issues. 

Jun 28, 2011 11:34 AM #9
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Dear Mitchell,

We did it!

This past Friday night, the New York State Legislature passed the landmark Marriage Equality bill. I then immediately signed the bill into law and it will go into effect 30 days from last Friday.

This new law marks a major turning point in the struggle for equality, and once again puts New York State in the role of progressive leader.

It has been a tough struggle, and I wish to thank all of you who lent your voice and your support to this critical issue. We all also need to thank those members of the State Assembly and Senate who supported fairness and equality by voting yes.

The Reverend Martin Luther King once said, "the arc of history bends towards justice." Now that arc bends a little further. Today, marriage equality has come to New York State.

Again, thank you for your support. It could not have been done without you and all the others who joined this fight. I look forward to your continued help as we work to rebuild a new New York for all our people.


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Jul 01, 2011 12:04 PM #10
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Mitchell J Hall

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