Rent control is having a moment. Debates about rent caps and other reforms are springing up across the country.
Stories of rent control — though perhaps more fable than fact — date as far back as 150 B.C. In modern times, rent caps have been on the decline in the U.S., largely falling out of fashion after the 1980s. But lately, the policy has gained traction and is now the subject of at least one presidential campaign.
In February, Oregon became the first to enact statewide rent control. California is following suit, though tenant advocates view the measure as watered down — the bill passed in September had a narrower definition of “good cause” eviction and exemptions for single-family homes. Meanwhile, New Jersey and Washington D.C. already have rent control policies on the books, though D.C.’s law is set to expire in 2020 (it’s widely expected to be renewed). There are also efforts to repeal laws in Chicago and elsewhere that explicitly bar rent control.
Many of these efforts are being led by tenant groups and local chapters of the Democratic Socialists of America — the same type of groups that pushed through the recent changes to New York’s rent stabilization law. It seems landlord groups have their work cut out for them in the years ahead.
Speaking of rent regulation, it seems the de Blasio administration is predicting higher rent increases.
On Wednesday, Louise Carroll, commissioner of the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, said the Rent Guidelines Board will “do what is appropriate” in light of changes to the state’s rent law. She said small rent increases allowed by the RGB in recent years aren’t an indication of how the body will act in the future.
“It’s not a guessing game when they issue these increases,” she said at a housing forum hosted by Crain’s in Midtown.
She wouldn’t explicitly say the RGB will approve rent hikes higher than the roughly 2 percent average of recent years, but her comments implied that would be the case, given that the state law severely restricted how and when landlords can increase rents. Plus, such comments from a top administration housing official are pretty telling, since the mayor appoints the rent board’s nine members.
Residential: The priciest residential closing recorded on Thursday was for a condo unit at 220 Central Park South in Midtown, at $22 million.
Commercial: The most expensive commercial closing of the day was for an apartment building at 60 Greenwich Avenue in Greenwich Village, at $9 million.
The largest new building filing was for a 75,473-square-foot residential building at 232 East Broadway in the Lower East Side. Round Square Development filed the permit application.
NEW TO THE MARKET
The most expensive residential listing to hit the market was for a condo unit at 252 East 57th Street in Sutton Place, at $7.8 million. Compass’ Shari Cohen has the listing. — Research by Mary Diduch