City’s sale of landlord debts is harming tenants: officials

Housing advocates, Letitia James call for changes to lien sale program

New York /
Oct.October 07, 2016 08:28 AM

Housing advocates and city officials are pushing for changes to the city’s lien sale program that could include foreclosing on properties or selling debts to nonprofits.

Each year since 1998, the city has sold off landlords’ unpaid fines and bills to private investors, who then collect payments and can seize properties if the owners don’t pay.

But when the debt is sold off the inflating interest can becoming a crushing burden, and residents often feel the brunt of the pain as landlords cut costs on crucial services, according to a new report expected to be released Friday by Public Advocate Letitia James.

Between 2010 and 2015, more than 15,000 properties spanning some 43,600 units were affected by the lien sales, the New York Times reported, and housing advocates along with city officials are urging the city to rethink how the program is formulated.

 

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer wants the city to foreclose on the delinquent landlords’ properties and use the land to construct affordable housing. James floated the idea of selling the debt through a housing preservation trust to nonprofits, which would compel owners to fix up their buildings.

The city first implemented the program as a way to recoup some of the unpaid charges it levies.

“We have found that the lien sale program is an effective tool to collect delinquent municipal charges,” said Freddi Goldstein, a spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio.

He added that the city will “continue to look at how all available tools can be used to create affordable housing.”

The public advocate’s report found dangerous conditions at 22 buildings that gone through the lien sale program many times, and code violations grew by 528 percent over the past six years. All of the buildings had rent-stabilized apartments.

The report also found that the program may incentivize owners to de-regulate units.

“Without a doubt, the city is missing an opportunity to preserve affordable housing and protect tenants,” James said. [NYT] – Rich Bockmann


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
All Falls Down: Kanye West’s “Star Wars”-themed affordable housing plan hits snag
All Falls Down: Kanye West’s “Star Wars”-themed affordable housing plan hits snag
All Falls Down: Kanye West’s “Star Wars”-themed affordable housing plan hits snag
A photo illustration of Governor of New York Kathy Hochul (Getty)
Gov. Yimby? Hochul promises housing blitz next year
Gov. Yimby? Hochul promises housing blitz next year
A photo illustration of NYCHA interim CEO Lisa Bova-Hiatt (Getty, NYCHA)
NYCHA tenants’ rent arrears surge to $443M
NYCHA tenants’ rent arrears surge to $443M
Attorney General Letitia James with 198 Scholes Street, 11 Gunther Place, 506 Dekalb Avenue and 65 Kent Avenue (Illustration by THe Real Deal with Getty, Google Maps)
Yoel Goldman’s All Year Management investigated by NY attorney general
Yoel Goldman’s All Year Management investigated by NY attorney general
(Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)
Developer fires back as Saddle River blocks affordable housing
Developer fires back as Saddle River blocks affordable housing
Garden Communities' Brett Tanzman with 800 Sylvan Avenue (Loopnet, Getty, Rutgers)
Development underway on former Unilever hub in Englewood Cliffs
Development underway on former Unilever hub in Englewood Cliffs
East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc and 350 Pantigo Road (Zillow, Getty, Town of East Hampton)
Hamptons town could buy former department store land to build homes
Hamptons town could buy former department store land to build homes
From left: Hudson Valley Property's Richard Lanzarone, Attorney General Letitia James, Belkind Burden Goldman’s Matthew Brett, and Kingston Mayor Steve Noble (Kingston, Belkind Burden Goldman, Getty, LinkedIn)
Kingston rent stabilization blocked, possibly for good
Kingston rent stabilization blocked, possibly for good
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...