The Daily Dirt: Is national rent control next?

New York /
Sep.September 17, 2019 11:15 AM
Bernie Sanders (Credit: Getty Images)

Bernie Sanders (Credit: Getty Images)

Flatbush native Bernie Sanders provided a sneak peek of his housing plan on Saturday. It includes national rent control. 

The Democratic candidate unveiled the key points he expects will make up his full housing plan, to be released in the coming weeks. What we know so far about the $2.5 trillion dollar plan is that it aims to “end homelessness in America,” fully fund the Section 8 program, rehabilitate public housing and … enact national rent control standards. 

“Landlords should not be able to simply raise rents to any level they want, any time they want,” Sanders said in a tweet. 

According to the New York Times, Sanders said the plan would be funded by a wealth tax on the top one-tenth of 1 percent of American households. 

The proposal for national rent control standards comes at a time when many states and cities are seriously considering — or actively implementing — rent caps. Last week, California approved statewide rent control, limiting annual rent increases at 5 percent after inflation. In February, Oregon capped rent increases at 7 percent, making it the first to implement statewide rent control. Though universal rent control didn’t go through this session, New York’s legislature did pass sweeping reforms to its rent stabilization law. 

Other Democratic contenders, Elizabeth Warren and Julián Castro, have also already released their housing proposals, which didn’t seem to grab as much attention (national rent control didn’t make an explicit appearance in either). Earlier this month, the Trump administration also released a housing plan that would end government control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. 

It’s not yet clear how a national rent control policy would address differences in markets throughout the country. What is clear is that many in the real estate industry likely isn’t going to be on board with whatever Sanders puts forward. 

The green bond market is hot. But the reporting practices surrounding this debt? Not so much.

For the first time in history, new issuances of green bonds — debt earmarked for projects that will benefit the environment — exceeded $100 billion by the mid-way point of 2019, according to the nonprofit Climate Bonds Initiative. But some critics say this financing doesn’t work as it should: It’s not getting projects that would otherwise languish off the ground, and there’s a lack of transparency in reporting practices, Rich Bockmann reports.

Because these bonds finance a company’s balance sheet rather than specific projects, it’s difficult to trace where this money goes and whether it ultimately leads to environmentally-friendly development.  

Alexandria Real Estate Equities and Sam Zell’s Equity Residential, for instance, have both indicated that they will use initial proceeds from recent bonds to pay off old debt. Vornado Realty Trust has also been somewhat vague on projects funded through bond proceeds in its sustainability reports. 

“The entire green bond market is more or less a greenwashing instrument,” said Stanislas Dupré, founder and CEO of the think tank 2 Degrees Investing Initiative, and one of the market’s biggest critics.

What we’re thinking about next:
Will the co-founders of the Tribeca Film Festival finally sell their co-op in the Dakota? Or will they have to chop the price again? Send a note to [email protected]

Residential: The priciest residential closing recorded on Monday was for a condo unit at 527 West 27th Street in West Chelsea, at $6.9 million.
Commercial: The most expensive commercial closing of the day was for an industrial building at 512 Johnson Avenue in East Williamsburg, at $21 million. 

The largest new building filing of the day was for a 89,547-square-foot residential building at 1695 Second Avenue in Yorkville. Aimco filed the permit application. 

The priciest residential listing to hit the market on Monday was for a co-op unit at 993 Fifth Avenue on the Upper East Side, at $27.5 million. Brown Harris Stevens’ Mary Beth Flynn has the listing.
— Research by Mary Diduch

A thing we’ve learned…
Tiffany Cabán, who lost out to Melinda Katz for Queens District Attorney, registered a statewide campaign committee on Friday. But she didn’t specify exactly what office or what district she’d be running in. 

“Tiffany is taking a minute to rest after a long campaign,” a spokesperson for Cabán said. “She’s still contemplating how best to take on mass incarceration and dismantle systemic inequities in our society, and hasn’t made any decisions.”

Thank you to Georgia Kromrei, who spotted this news.

Top stories from our other markets:

WeWork’s parent company is reportedly planning to postpone its initial public offering following weeks of scrutiny over the co-working firm’s valuation and corporate structure. The IPO would be put on hold for at least a month, despite earlier reports that WeWork’s IPO roadshow would kick off as early as this week.

Amazon doubled the size of its office space at its downtown location, and now has 100,000 square feet at the Tishman Speyer-owned 227 West Monroe Street tower. The e-commerce giant added 70,000 square feet to its existing space, and will add some 400 jobs. The local space focuses on Amazon Web Services, including its advertising, and transportation and operations units.

Blackstone Group has acquired four Los Angeles-area rental complexes totaling 862 units from TruAmerica Multifamily, which has been a frequent partner. Blackstone has been active in L.A.-area real estate dealmaking, but the $312 million buy represents one of its biggest deals in the multifamily space.

Dolphin Capital Partners and Baywood Hotels closed on the site of a planned Moxy by Marriott hotel in Wynwood. The partners paid $11 million for the 16,400-square-foot site. The property will mark the second Moxy hotel in Florida, followed by a 202-room Moxy under construction in Miami Beach. — Compiled by Alexi Friedman

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