Real Estate

Lawmakers Pass Ground Lease Co-op Bill, Rent Cap Measure Fails

Lawmakers pass bill allowing ground lease co-ops to renew leases, but fail to cap rent increases.

By Tal Alexander

6/11, 07:38 EDT
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Key Takeaway

  • The New York State legislature passed a bill allowing ground lease co-ops to renew or extend leases, providing more certainty for shareholders.
  • A separate bill to cap rent increases on ground lease co-ops did not pass, alleviating concerns from real estate professionals.
  • Additional legislative actions include the approval of a statewide short-term rental registry and a timeline for selecting downstate casinos.

Legislative Session Ends with Mixed Outcomes for Real Estate

The recent state legislative session concluded with a mix of outcomes for the real estate sector, leaving many industry professionals with a sense of anticlimax. While some housing and real estate-related proposals were addressed in the state budget, a significant measure that would have capped rent increases on ground lease co-ops failed to gain enough support. Instead, the Senate and Assembly passed a bill allowing ground lease co-ops to renew or extend their lease terms, providing more certainty for shareholders. This development, while not as impactful as the proposed rent cap, still marks a notable change in the legislative landscape for co-ops.

Details of the Ground Lease Co-op Bill

The approved bill, sponsored by Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky and Assembly member Linda Rosenthal, allows ground lease co-ops to renew or extend their lease terms at any point, provided their contracts allow such extensions. This measure aims to alleviate the difficulties shareholders face when trying to sell their units as the lease expiration approaches. Real estate attorney Stuart Saft noted that while this bill interferes with existing private contracts, it does so by creating more flexibility rather than adding new provisions. This distinction is crucial as it provides a more balanced approach to addressing the concerns of co-op shareholders.

Broader Implications for the Real Estate Market

The failure to pass the rent cap bill and the approval of the ground lease co-op bill have broader implications for the real estate market. The rent cap bill's failure suggests a reluctance among lawmakers to impose stringent controls on rent increases, which could have had significant financial implications for property owners and investors. On the other hand, the approved bill provides a more pragmatic solution, offering stability and predictability for co-op shareholders without drastically altering existing contracts. This legislative outcome reflects a cautious approach to real estate regulation, balancing the interests of property owners and residents.

My Perspective on the Legislative Outcomes

From my viewpoint, the legislative session's outcomes highlight the complexities of real estate regulation. The failure to pass the rent cap bill may be seen as a victory for property owners, but it also underscores the ongoing challenges in addressing housing affordability. The approved ground lease co-op bill, while less dramatic, offers a practical solution that benefits shareholders without imposing undue burdens on property owners. This balanced approach is essential in maintaining a healthy real estate market that can adapt to changing economic conditions. However, the broader issue of housing affordability remains unresolved, requiring continued attention and innovative solutions.

Street Views

  • Stuart Saft, Real Estate Attorney (Neutral on the approved co-op bill):

    "That, too, is changing a term of an expiring contract, but it’s not inventing a term."