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Manhattan lawmaker proposes extending rent laws till February (Updates)

Assemb. Keith Wright with U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

Assemb. Keith Wright with U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand at a New York State Democratic Party breakfast event in Charlotte, N.C., on Sept. 5, 2012. Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

ALBANY - (Updates with Wright interview, Flanagan comment after leaders' meeting)

After lawmakers floated the idea of a short-term extension of the state's rent-control laws, Assemb. Keith Wright introduced a bill late Tuesday to do just that.

Wright (D-Manhattan) proposed extending rent laws, which cover about 1 million apartments in New York City and suburbs, until Feb. 1. That could provide a way for lawmakers to address the issue while still adjourning for the year on Wednesday, as previously scheduled.

Negotiations on a new rent law have been stalled, senators and Assembly members said.

"I don't believe the Senate wants to negotiate in good faith, so we want to prepare for all variables," Wright said in an interview Wednesday.

Rent laws -- which have become the major issue for ending the session -- expired at midnight Monday night, though Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and other lawmakers sought to assure tenants that the lapse would have no short-term impact. Lawmakers publicly reported no progress Tuesday, though sources had said the idea of pushing off the issue till 2016 had gained some momentum.

"There's discussion, but we're not close to anything," Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) told reporters Tuesday after a series of meetings with Cuomo.

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-East Northport) has called for an eight-year extension of rent laws, but wants tenants to have to verify their incomes to qualify. The Democrat-led Assembly opposes the idea.

Flanagan said after closed-door negotiations with Cuomo and Heastie Wednesday that they are not near a resolution.

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