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Debate continues over expanded rent control in Upstate New York

A debate over extending rent control laws for New York City is now turning to expanding the measures to upstate communities as well.

New York City’s rent control laws are due to expire at the end of June. And as the laws are being renewed, state legislators want to strengthen protections for tenants and bring the regulations to upstate cities.

“This is the first time that tenants in all parts of New York state are pressuring and lobbying for rent control and tenant protections,” said Tenants PAC Treasurer Mike McKee. “It’s a very exciting development.”

Assembly lawmakers on Thursday held a public hearing on the issue — one of a series being held in upstate cities to discuss how rent control regulations would effect upstate renters and landlords.

“The reason it’s happening in is because people are hurting,” McKee said. “There are tenants in Texas, there are tenants in Chicago. Oregon just passed a statewide rent control law. It’s very important.”

If statewide rent control is adopted, a local government would have to opt in. Rent increases would be subject to the approval of a local rent board, which could also approve measures that make it harder for landlords to evict people.

“I’m still trying to get my arms around the issue,” said Assemblywoman Pat Fahy. “It’s a complicated one and there’s still a lot to learn.”

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