The Real Deal New York

Zero hardship applications filed during first year of rent freeze

RSA says number of applications is a poor indication of owner’s struggles
October 20, 2016 10:02AM

Bill de Blasio and Jack Freund

Bill de Blasio and Jack Freund

During the first year of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s rent freeze in 2015, zero landlords sent in hardship applications showing they were struggling financially.

In 2011, the busiest year for hardship increase filings in the last five years, only four landlords applied, Gothamist reported.

Jack Freund, vice president of the Rent Stabilization Association, said the hardship applications are a poor barometer of rent-stabilized landlords’ struggles.

“The application itself is like a book. It’s a very lengthy and complicated application to fill out,” he said.

The form is 12 pages long, but Freund said, “the real problem with it is that DHCR itself finds any reason it can not to complete processing. The process takes years.”

If a building owner applies for a tax reduction at the same time as hardship increases, the Department of Homes and Community Renewal will put the application process on hold until the tax matter is cleared up.

“Owners are aware of this,” Freund said. “They know that very few if any hardship applications get granted, so why bother applying?”

The Rent Guidelines Board in June voted to freeze rents for a second year in a row. [Gothamist]Rich Bockmann