It was standing-room only in the Hutchinson Metro Center on August 7 when the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors (HGAR) and the Bronx-Manhattan North Association of Realtors presented, “The New Rent Laws – What Happens Now.” The event in the Bronx brought together commercial real estate experts to dissect the recently passed Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019, New York State’s historic new legislation for pro-tenant rent reforms.
The panelists included Eliot J. Cherson, senior and founding partner of Hertz, Cherson & Rosenthal, PC; Victor Sozio, executive vice president of Ariel Property Advisors; Matthew Engel, president of Langsam Property Services Corp. and chairman of the Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP); and John Barrett, president of the Commercial & Investment Division of HGAR, who served as moderator.
Cherson began the discussion by reviewing components of the landmark bill, including “universal rent control” protections long sought by advocates, such as putting an end to high-rent vacancy deregulation, limiting the preferential rent loophole and blocking capital and individual apartment improvements deemed unnecessary.
“These changes force landlords to stay within a strict set of rent requirements,” Engel said. “They will be less likely to renovate their rental properties because it won’t give them any return on investment.”
Audience members expressed concern about the legislation, with several questioning the bill’s implications on affordable housing in the state and some calling for challenging the act by contacting local representatives.
“It will take time for the market to adjust,” said Sozio. “I believe that, down the line, there will be opportunities that result from this, but we need to see how it plays out. A leveling of the market is now taking place. There won’t be as many transactions occurring.”
“At HGAR, we are committed to offering programming centered around the most important issues affecting our industry,” said Barrett. “We will continue to monitor how the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act is impacting the way real estate professionals conduct business, and look forward to future conversations about this important topic. It not only affects real estate professionals, but building owners, tenants and those who provide services to building owners.”