If the state kills the vacancy bonus, a new one could respawn

Rent Guidelines Board hasn't applied a vacancy increase since the 1990s

TRD New York /
Apr.April 25, 2019 03:15 PM
Ahead of the Rent Guidelines Board's final vote, board members can submit their own proposals (Credit: iStock)

Ahead of the Rent Guidelines Board’s final vote, board members can submit their own proposals (Credit: iStock)

Even if Albany eliminates vacancy bonuses for rent-regulated units, the city’s Rent Guidelines Board can simply implement a new one, members said Thursday.

During a day-long hearing, the board discussed what actions its members could take if the state eliminates a 5 to 20 percent-plus rent bump landlords can apply when a rent-stabilized unit is vacated. The RGB hasn’t decided to apply a vacancy increase since the late 1990s, when the state’s vacancy bonus was implemented.

The Rent Guidelines Board hearing

The Rent Guidelines Board hearing

Scott Walsh, an owner’s representative board member and a Forest City alum, indicated that he plans to propose a vacancy increase for the board to potentially vote on in June, though he wouldn’t provide details on any percentages he’s considering. During a break in Thursday’s hearing, board member Patti Stone, an attorney with Rosenberg & Estis, indicated that she also hasn’t determined what kind of percentage she would propose.

Ahead of the RGB’s final vote, board members can submit their own proposals, which need a total of five votes to be approved. Typically, there are between six or seven proposals.

Executive Director Andrew McLaughlin noted Albany is expected to decide on the vacancy bonus issue and other proposed changes before the board’s final vote on potential rent increases. A vacancy rent increase could be introduced into whatever proposal is voted on during the board’s final vote, even if it’s not presented in the initial May vote, McLaughlin said.

“It would have to be a reasonable number that wouldn’t be challenged,” he said.

Vacancy bonuses, along with vacancy decontrol, Major Capital Improvements and Individual Apartment Improvements, are among the programs potentially on the chopping block this legislative session. The New York State Assembly is expected to host the first of two hearings on those proposals on May 2.

Related Articles

Blackstone CEO Steven Schwartzman and Stuyvesant Town (Credit: Getty Images)

After authorities vowed review of Stuy Town deal, Blackstone changes course on vacancies

Real Capital Analytics data showed that New York’s multifamily market had a very slow July. (Credit: iStock)

New NYC rent law “beginning to shut down investment”

Some landlords say they plan to close the door to vacant apartments and wait for the laws to change (Credit: iStock)

Creative ways NYC landlords are getting around the new rent rules

Clockwise from left: 5203-5207 Church Avenue in Brooklyn, 119-40 Metropolitan Avenue in Queens, 855 East 217th Street in the Bronx and 31-35 Steinway Street in Queens (Credit: Google Maps)

Going once, Going twice! Rent-stabilized portfolio hits auction block

Zillow CEO Rich Barton (Credit: iStock)

Zillow and Opendoor aren’t making much on home-flipping

This week, the State Department of Taxation and Finance issued a new memo that notably made no mention of condos. (Credit: iStock)

Regulators quietly change stance on condos in LLC law

Taconic Investment Partners’ Charles Bendit and A&E Real Estate Holding’s Douglas Eisenberg (Credit: Getty Images, iStock)

Multifamily heavyweights pitched rent plan before Albany hammered landlords

Cea Weaver and the Nassau County Courthouse (Credit: Wikipedia)

Tenant group attacks Democratic senators for taking real estate money