The Real Deal New York

Law targets double-standard in treatment of rent-regulated tenants

Amenities often not offered to those paying less money; "poor door"
May 16, 2014 01:28PM

Developers are increasingly treating rent-regulated tenants in luxury buildings differently then they treat those who pay market rates.

In response to the trend, lawmakers are pushing for legislation requiring landlords to treat residents in the same building the same way, the New York Times is reporting.

While data on the topic is not readily available, both tenants and developers have told the New York Times, that the trend is in fact on the rise.

Amenities such as gyms, rooftop access and playrooms are used to attract high paying residents. Developers maintain that rent-regulated rules make it difficult to offer the same services to the rent-regulated tenants.

Controversy arose last year, when a so-called “poor door” was installed at a new development at 40 Riverside Boulevard, separating the rent-regulated tenants from the rest of the inhabitants of the building.

According to the New York Times, rent-regulated tenants are likely to be elderly or minorities, especially in Manhattan. Based on data from the New York University Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, 47 percent of rent-regulated tenants in 2011 were white. About 73 percent of market-rate renters in Manhattan were white in that same year.

Meanwhile, the price difference between a rent-regulated unit and a market rate one is substantial. The median for a rent-regulated apartment in Manhattan was $1,321 per month, while the median for a market rate one is $2,696. [NYT] — Claire Moses