The Real Deal New York

Rent-regulated landlords could get battered with new city assessment

Preliminary building assessments rose by 10.8% on average this year

February 04, 2016 08:44AM

343 Saint Nicholas Avenue in Hamilton Heights, where property tax payments will rise 26% this year (inset: Mayor Bill de Blasio)

343 Saint Nicholas Avenue in Hamilton Heights, where property tax payments will rise 26% this year (inset: Mayor Bill de Blasio)

Landlords of rent-stabilized apartments will see their property tax payments rise significantly in the coming year, while rental income will stay put.

Preliminary tax assessments on apartment buildings rose by an average of 10.8 percent citywide, the largest increase in 20 years. While tax rates won’t change, tax payments will nonetheless rise, straining the finances of the owners of buildings with rent-stabilized units, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“It definitely takes a toll on landlords,” Michael Weissman of Most Reliable Management, a firm that represents rent-stabilized landlords in Brooklyn, told the Journal.

The city’s Rent Guidelines Board is enforcing a freeze on rent-stabilized rents in the city this year.

The Rent Stabilization Association’s Aaron Sirulnick, told the Journal the increases represented “a continual crisis.”

“We support affordable housing, but it is virtually impossible to keep up with the expense side when the revenue is capped at zero percent,” he told the paper.

City officials defended the increase, citing market forces and playing down the severity of landlords’ financial straits.

“The roll simply reflects the growing real-estate market and construction activities,” Jacques Jiha, the city’s Commissioner of Finance, said in a statement.

State law requires that the city phase assessment increases over five years, with only 20 percent of any one increase charged in the first year.

“The data doesn’t bear out [landlords’] claims of poverty,” Rent Guidelines Board’s tenant rep Harvey Epstein told the Journal. “If there was any real proof that landlords were suffering, we would come up with a solution to protect those landlords,” he said. “Nobody wants to see wholesale foreclosures—it is bad for tenants.” [WSJ]Ariel Stulberg

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