Luxury renters stuck paying for amenities closed by Covid

Swimming pools, common rooms, and other amenities have been closed, but landlords aren’t offering discounts

TRD New York /
Jul.July 20, 2020 03:30 PM
Renters paying high prices for luxury New York City apartments are stilling paying high prices even though building amenities are closed over Covid fears (iStock)

Renters paying high prices for luxury New York City apartments are stilling paying high prices even though building amenities are closed over Covid fears (iStock)

Renters in New York City luxury buildings want a discount now that amenities like swimming pools, saunas and common spaces have been closed in response to risks posed by Covid-19.

Landlords, not surprisingly, don’t share the same view.

Although they have cultivated clientele in the competitive New York market by offering luxury amenities, building owners have proven resistant to refunds and rebates on rent.

QLIC at 41-42 24th Street in Long Island City

QLIC at 41-42 24th Street in Long Island City

“The amenity that we’re offering now, in a Covid emergency, is safety and well-being,” Richard Lebow, a director behind the QLIC luxury rental building in Long Island City, told Bloomberg. “It’s more expensive and requires much more focus and much more care to run a building,”

While state rules permit private pools to operate, landlords are taking a more cautious approach, keeping amenities closed for the time being, and extending discounts to new tenants while declining reductions to current renters.

The unequal treatment has created a rift in a real estate landscape reshaped by concerns over communal transmission of the virus.

At 50 West, the downtown luxury condo building has hired additional cleaning staff, bought UV lamps to sanitize face masks, and a fogger to disinfect elevators, Seth Coston, director of condominium operations for the management company, Time Equities, told Bloomberg.

The condo board is not offering discounts on monthly common charges despite closing the jacuzzi, sauna, and arts and crafts room.

While the early days of the crisis were marked by a mad rush for a limited supply of rental properties on Long Island and Upstate, transplants from New York City are starting to warm to the idea of staying in the suburbs for the long haul.

Deals have slowed down in urban areas as buyers seek out spacious enclaves in suburbia.

As Paul Breunich, president and CEO of William Pitt, told The Real Deal: “Overnight it went from a buyers market to a sellers market, and also overnight it went from people migrating to the city to people escaping to the suburbs.” [Bloomberg] — Orion Jones


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