The Real Deal New York

Rent freeze is “abysmal economics”: OPINION

"A shriveled job market is not a crisis that the city’s rent rules were ever meant to address."
June 15, 2014 03:00PM

 Bill de Blasio is gearing up for a battle with the Rent Guidelines Board over a rent freeze on New York’s 1 million rent-stabilized apartments. And now landlords who are against the measure have found an ally in the slumlord-shaming pages of the New York Daily News. A recent editorial in the Daily News describes de Blasio’s plan to freeze rents as “perfect politics — and abysmal economics.”

Despite the fact that the majority of rent-stabilized tenants spend more than one-third of their modest incomes on rent, the paper argues that the city’s rent rules were never meant to address a dismal job market.

Instead, the Rent Guidelines Board must assess the costs landlords bear in running their buildings.

“Approved rent hikes have recently hovered around 3 percent annually, far behind the pace of fuel, tax and utility costs. As one example, real estate taxes, usually the biggest cost for landlords, increased 5 percent in the last year,” the editorial reads.

The board is currently weighing an increase between zero and 3 percent for one-year leases and of 0.5 percent to 4.5 percent for two-year leases.

“They only need look at the city’s crumbling public housing projects to see what happens when a landlord gets too little money coming in to keep buildings from falling apart,” the paper writes. [NYDN] Christopher Cameron