Pressure is mounting on New York City’s renters.
According to a new survey from the Community Housing Improvement Program, tenants in rent-stabilized apartments are more than $1 billion behind on rent. The figure represents about 185,000 households that owe more than two months’ rent — an average of $6,000.
The survey, which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, focused on rent-regulated buildings — about half the total number of rental units in the city.
Jay Martin, executive director of CHIP, said taking into account the city’s roughly 1 million market-rate rentals would likely put tenants’ rent debt at $2 billion.
“It’s not an insurmountable amount,” Martin told the Journal. “The numbers tell us that, probably, if we could get an additional $1 billion or $2 billion in the city, we could probably pay off every single renter’s arrears in the entire city of New York over the last year of the crisis.”
Washington and Albany have provided some rent aid during the pandemic. The latest federal relief package includes $1.3 billion in rental assistance for the entire state. The incoming Biden administration has said it will pursue another stimulus package.
Landlords are prohibited from evicting tenants until May under the state’s eviction moratorium. Advocates for both landlords and tenants are calling for more financial support.
[WSJ] — Sylvia Varnham O’Regan