The Real Deal New York

Lawmakers to tackle thorny issue of rent regulation

Complicated set of rules scheduled to expire on June 15

January 05, 2015 03:58PM

rent-guidelinesFBIf lawmakers in Albany don’t reach an agreement, laws that keep monthly rent low for roughly two million New Yorkers will expire on June 15.

State legislators are now girding for a debate about whether to renew those controversial laws — and if renewed, whether the rules should be strengthened or weakened.

“The city is changing enough as it is, and these laws are so important to so many people,” one tenant in a rent-controlled apartment told the Associated Press. “If you want to have neighborhoods, if you want to have families and artists and elderly living in New York City, we need these laws. Can you imagine what New York City would be like without them?”

The laws will determine the size of the rent increase for roughly a million apartments that were built before 1973. Supporters claim that rent regulation is needed to ensure that New York City remains affordable for the middle class and working class. Landlords prefer to rent partments for market-rate prices, rather than keeping rent artificially low.

The rent laws are controlled by the State Senate, which is currently in Republican hands. [AP via Crain’s]Claire Moses

  • This article confuses the periodic renewal of the laws that ALLOW for rent controls for those of us lucky enough to have gotten a great deal, with the rent guidelines board, a politically appointed body that determines the SIZE of the rent increases.

    Furthermore, the rent laws have to be approved by all three branches of government, and, as every market-rate tenant knows, these laws make the remaining uncontrolled apartments far more expensive.

    • noclist

      only in Manhattan. In the outer boroughs, the market rate rent is very similar to the rent stabilized rent, especially in apartments that have a high turnover.

      • Edward Johnson

        I believe your comment is mostly true and it means that the majority of people who really benefit from rent stabilization regulations are white people living in Manhattan proper.

        At the very least this summer the rules should be changed to prevent anyone who makes more than $100k/year from having a stabilized unit. If you make $100k/year you can pay market rate like the rest of us.

        • noclist

          I agree there should be some limits, but not income. 100k with 2 kids won’t take you far in NYC paying a market rate rent. Net worth limits or owning a home elsewhere should be the criteria.

          • JEng

            they’ll just shift it to another family member making less or sell it to someone and claim they were roommates all along

          • Edward Johnson

            the median income in NYC is $56k per year. If you make nearly twice the median income you can afford to pay market rate just like everyone else. Sure $100k may not get you a place in the WV, but there are lots of great neighborhoods where $100k/yr is more than enough for a family.

          • Dont_call_me_D

            NOT TRUE… remember. the rule is .. A person should not exceed 30% of their income on rent.. to be able to avoid financial hardship.. market rate right now is unavoidable if you make only 100,000… “like the rest of us”… you are probably paying too much for rent already..and that is NOT OKAY.

      • no-permits

        there are very few cases where there are stabilized units with high turnover. get yourself out of manhattan sometimes.

        • noclist

          I live in one of those outside Manhattan buildings. 50% turnover within 2 years. Some apartments have turned over so frequently, they’re no longer stabilized. Those generally take considerably longer to find a tenant. I’d think Manhattan turnover would be much less, considering the spread between stabilized and market rents is much greater.

          • no-permits

            i don’t know what kind of neighborhood you live in nor the owners strategy, but that’s not typical in most cases. saying market rate is similar to stabilized is completely false.

          • noclist

            Owner is third generation landlord. Building is in Riverdale with doorman and parking. Stabilized 2 bed/2 bath go for $1800-$2200 when they turn over and considerably quicker than the $2500+ identical market rate apts.

          • JEng

            no there are cheap apartments in Queens which is BARE like Archie and Edith Bunker or real immmigranty and still affordable for newly arrived Tibetans – it’s true and it’s advertised in Chinese websites and Backpage – the Queens section – you can live cheap and you just have to deal with the dowdiness of omigod I am in Queens which is what someone who had to go to St Johns for the first time told me as if I had MADE it that way – I SUFFERED it and now he knew how I felt.

            Just waiting for the bus in the middle of nowhere staring at nothing – you cannot believe the sensation!

            its not even bucolic – its really working class – so it’s just hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

            for YEARS

          • JEng

            we lowered rent after we hit the vacate threshold because we wanted a stable tenant and we got one who stayed for more than ten years without a rent hike – in hindsight it was worth it because they balanced out emotionally the injustice of the other apartments but in the end, they committed some sabotage and lies and maybe the smears reached them and affected them so they moved out – we didn’t chuck em because they were below market.

            right now, we’re lucky but the rent needs to go up on one unit if they are so below market that the difference will spare us from disaster this summer.

      • JEng

        there is no affordable housing issue but there is coveted space – everyone wants that prime location and for some reason, government is encouraging everyone to feel owed and to blame the landlords who can’t even afford to live in their own buidlings – even if the murderers’ family would vacate.

    • JEng

      The expenses are getting worse for our building and the regulated tenants are creating costly repairs – so we have to raise rents and will probably lose our market tenants as a consequence. So it is a FACT that the market rents are higher because of rent regulated units in the same building.

      decontrol helped boston but I have a feeling that getting squeezed by these government biases encourage sales of tenements so that means we don’t have big donors on our side or even developers but I say this – we do not compete for renters with the new builds.

      I lost two tenants because they got raises and went to more expensive rentals with nicer stuff so we will always be a walk up -we’re not going to get picked by the kind of interview subjects on The Hunt column in the New York Times.

      I want things to be fair and resolved so I don’t have to be alert all the time to how we are getting clobbered by this system.

  • JEng

    It’s not need based like NYCHA but the government changes the law to benefit tenants without making it based on deserving and the needy. At least get rid of succession rights because we pay to support those rents and those tenants go on to have better educations and better assets than the greedy slumlord so basically you force us to subsidize a lifestyle that does not need to be subsidized.

    We accept protecting the elderly in place but not if they have children wo claim rights to the units or even grandsons whatever and if an entire family is taking turns claiming tenancy so their multiple homes, six figure salaries and classic car ownership don’t impair their tenancy, that should be considered as well.

    We have proof – is there a meeting we can go to in Albany with our photos, our bills, our tapes audio and video and a pipe showing that the tenant hasnt been in there in years – that’s not sushi defense – that’s not using the kitchen sink, the shower nor the bathroom sink and they hoard!

  • GK

    If the city wants to maintain the neighberhood carachter they should keep the rent increases inline with the stabelazation. And so they should also force con Edison to deliver gas and electric on 1950 prices.

  • JaneSmith100

    The problem is, there are people who INHERIT apartments. That has to go. People are living in their parents “inherited” apartment ot their great grandparent’s place! That is just wrong! And a whole lot of the legacy renters are a miserable spoiled awful lot. Let them MOVE OUT. I just read sth about this in one of the NY mags, pro-renter attorneys no longer want juries because juries resent them! Also who do you think voted in DB? Yeah, let them all go. Goodbye!

    • Dont_call_me_D

      i dont think its wrong at all..if you lived there at the time of your parents death you shouldn’t go homeless.

      • JaneSmith100

        When you’re 30?

        • Dont_call_me_D

          You shouldn’t go homeless at any age. especially if you are paying the amount of rent on the lease.

          • JaneSmith100

            True true but…there’s an article in the NY’er or the Observer about this that is fascinating. There are always good people who abide by stuff and evil people who don’t. Remember that Mia Farrow and Carly Simon both had RC apts in NYC that they had both “inherited”? Not sure I think that is fair at all. Both are millionaires with tons of property elsewhere and big $.

          • Dont_call_me_D

            Well its only an issue if they never actually lived in the place they inherited.You cant expect landlords to do a search on peoples wealth other than a credit check. In NYC their aren’t a ton of millionaires living in ghettos getting rent controlled apartments.. THOUGH i do believe Everybody should have some form of rent control even millionaires.. It would keep rents low for everybody. Dont believe the lie that rent control is the cause for hi rents.. Because NYC rent was always relatively cheap compared to other big cities around the world because of it. The rent didn’t get out of hand until wall street moved in after the recession and decided it wanted to be everyone’s landlord…Now its about profits year over year..now an apartment is big business..THIS IS BAD FOR HUMANITY AS A WHOLE..

          • JaneSmith100

            No. Nothing is going to keep rents low. Faux tax help will never help everyone. let the market decide.

  • EricPost

    Anyone who’s taken Econ 101, knows rent control doesn’t work.

    • Dont_call_me_D

      It does work because the landlords get tax breaks.. that is.. when the landlord is a person ………and not a hedge fund.. when it is a hedge fund then the tax breaks don’t help much because investors want to see PROFITS FIRST YEAR IN YEAR OUT CONSECUTIVELY.. NYC rent and rent all over the U.S as gone up because wall-street now wants to become our landlords.. this is a huge problem. A regular landlord , guy name joe just wants to see a return on the property he owns…and doenst mind getting tax breaks or giving up an apartment to section 8 because the government pays him market rates while the tenants gets a break….but when the landlord transforms into a money making instruments instead ..the evil begins.

  • Dont_call_me_D

    This problem all started when Hedge funds started replacing the landlords.

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