The Real Deal New York

De Blasio rent-freeze proposal irks landlords

October 10, 2013 08:47AM

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From left: Joe Lhota and Bill de Blasio

Mayoral front-runner Bill de Blasio’s proposal to freeze rents at rent-stabilized apartments has vexed landlords, who said they would fight the plan. The next mayor will have the ability to appoint four new members to the Rent Guidelines Board, which sets rent rates for a million New York City apartments, and De Blasio has announced his intent to select pro-tenant, pro-stabilization members.

A spokesperson for De Blasio said that were the candidate elected, he would push the board to not increase the rent during its annual vote in June.

“In the short term, with wages stagnant and tenants struggling to pay the rent, Bill de Blasio has called for a one-year rent freeze for people living in rent-stabilized apartments,” spokesperson Dan Levitan told the Wall Street Journal.

The real estate community and Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota are vehemently against the freeze, which they argue unfairly penalizes landlords. Any rent freeze should be accompanied by a freeze on property taxes and a freeze on municipal sewer and water charges, according to Jack Freund, vice president of the Rent Stabilization Association.

“Bill is not too smart backing this,” Freund told the Journal. “I’m not sure if this is campaign rhetoric but he will recognize the reality if and when he takes office.”

Lhota told the Journal that it would be hard to fathom a rent freeze given that property taxes and utility costs keep rising.

“There’s no equity there,” Lhota said. “If you’re telling me that that’s going to be controlled, sure, I’d be for a rent freeze. But if that’s not proven, I can’t agree to a freeze because it’s not fair.” [WSJ]  – Hiten Samtani

  • WannaBeLandlord

    Deal. Just freeze my insurance, heating fuel, electricity, taxes, and maintence wages.

  • SlickExpat

    Dems just can’t help themselves when it comes to buying votes on the backs of desperately-needed private-sector entrepreneurs.

  • http://www.ianmacallen.com/ Ian MacAllen

    Freezing rent stabilized rents is all fine and dandy, but does nothing to address the obscene rents in non-stabilized units. It would be far more useful to figure out a method to circumvent Albany’s restrictions on rent stabilization and create more stabilized units than further reducing income for existing stabilized landlords.

  • Mike

    These people are nuts. Buildings don’t pay for themselves. I wonder how we got those burnt out buildings in to 80s?

  • isaac

    If De Blasio is elected the city is doomed. We will revert back to the Dinkin’s days.
    I just don’t know why people don’t get it. He’s no friend of the property owners of the city first with his worst landlord list and now with a rent freeze. Let him start with freezing the water bills that go up every year.

  • AntiPriceFixer

    @ianmac47:disqus

    With all due respect, your comment demonstrates very little understanding of basic economics. The rents in New York are exorbitantly high BECAUSE of government regulation, not in spite of. If you waived a magic wand over the city and lifted all of the supply restrictions and rent controls, then rents for EVERYONE would start to come down. It will never happen mind you – but it would help if more people understood simple economic principles. By your summation, an affordable city is just one law away from being a reality. If that were the case, then everyone would vote for it and it would have no trouble passing.

  • Klezmer O’Brien

    Why would the global capital of capitalism elect a Sandinista mayor?

    Freeze rents, lower tax revenues paid by landlords, impede the city’s ability to make good on pensions for cops, firemen, city workers…

    And wind up with a apartments controlled by six-figure earners who live in Connecticut.

  • rubagreta

    And why not? For every building owner (who may not even live in New York City), there are 40 tenants. Count the votes. And Mayor Sandinista knows how to count votes.

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