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In June 2019, New York adopted the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (HSTPA), 2019 N.Y Laws ch. 36, amending various sections of the existing substantive and procedural laws regulating landlord-tenant relations. Calling the HSTPA “rad” suggests two things: from the perspective of housing advocates and tenants, it is “awesome” but for property owners and investors, it is concernedly “radical.”

Both meanings are apt because of the sweeping changes the HSTPA makes to the traditional landlord-tenant dynamic--from tenancy creation to perpetual rent controls to post-judgment relief, creating what might be described as a “statutory lease.” Both sides of the dynamic might even describe the HSTPA as a revolution: the housing advocates and tenants, who see it as a much-needed adjustment in the balance of the fortunes of those needing accessible housing and those profit-seekers in the business of providing it; and the owners and investors, who believe it takes away well-established rights and expectations of ownership.

This legislation marks the second revolution in landlord-tenant law, the first having started in the 1950s and culminating in a decided movement away from the classic paradigm in which all the rights resided in the landlords and all the burdens were placed on the tenant, to one more centered between the parties. Although this second revolution emerging in New York and a few other jurisdictions at first take seems promising, however, it may yet cause losses for tenants as a socioeconomic cohort.