HEMPSTEAD - Tenants at risk of eviction due to the rising cost of rent rallied outside state Sen. Kemp Hannon's office Wednesday in an effort to get him on board with two key pieces of legislation.

The state Assembly passed two bills last week that would protect tenants from harassment and unnecessary evictions.

Currently, when a rent-stabilized apartment becomes vacant, landords are allowed to increase the rent by up to 20 percent. A bill being considered in Albany would change that and drastically limit those rent hikes. The second measure would stop landlords from raising the rent on existing tenants who are looking to renew their leases.

There are more than 10,000 residents in Sen. Hannon's district that live in rent-stabilized apartments.

Sen. Hannon released a statement that said in part, "Neither bill is in a committee in which I am a member."

A spokesman for the state senator wouldn't say whether he supports or opposes the bills.

Paul Palmieri, with the Coalition of Landlords, says he's against them.

"Landlords have operating expenses. Landlords have overhead. When the government starts to put these kinds of restrictions on us, or landlords in general, they put a lot of landlords out of business," said Palmieri.