State task force restores 25K units to rent regulation

October 18, 2013 01:52PM

The Tenant Protections Unit, a state agency created to crack down on landlords pressuring tenants out of rent-regulated units, is successfully routing out abuses.

The current system in which landlords can take rent-controlled or rent-stabilized units out of the affordable housing arena — known as deregulation — once rent hits $2,500 per month encourages tenant harassment, critics say.

“We can’t wait for tenants to be abused to take action,” Richard White, the state’s Deputy Housing Commissioner, told the New York Daily News.

The TPU tracks problem landlords by digging through information on the 1 million rent-regulated homes in the city, pulling out details and reports if the numbers look suspicious — a process by which the agency has successfully restored 25,000 rent-controlled units to the city’s affordable housing stock.

“Rent would go from $600 to $2,501 a month for one apartment, then another is $800 and it jumps to exactly $2,501, one’s at $650, and it goes to $2,501,” White told the Daily News, referring to Yeshaya Wasserman’s 181-unit complex in Prospect Lefferts Gardens. “It was definitely cause for concern.”

Wasserman did not respond to the Daily News’ calls for comment.

But other landlords, for their part, say the TPU is only fishing to score the state political points.

“There are no guidelines for landlords to follow, only headlines,” Frank Ricci, director of government affairs at landlord group the Rent Stabilization Association, told the Daily News. [NYDN] Julie Strickland