Millionaire tenants hold on to rent-stabilized apartments

Landlords filed 8,185 petitions to deregulate units from 2011 to 2013: report

A polo player, tobacco executive and surgeon
A polo player, tobacco executive and surgeon

What do a polo-playing multimillionaire, former tobacco executive and surgeon have in common? All three are among the tens of thousands of deep-pocketed tenants who currently occupy rent-stabilized housing in Manhattan’s poshest zip codes.

Many of these tenants snagged their below-market rentals decades ago, and as of 2010 an estimated 22,642 rent-stabilized households had incomes that exceeded $199,000, according to census data cited by DNainfo. Of those, roughly 2,300 households had incomes of more than $500,000, the news site reported.

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“It’s ridiculous,” Carol Kellermann, president of good-government group Citizens Budget Commission, told DNAinfo. “It’s not making affordable apartments available to low-income people.”

Under state law, the Division of Housing and Community Renewal will deregulate a rent-controlled or rent-stabilized apartment if the landlord proves a tenant’s annual income exceeded $200,000 for two consecutive years and the rent was above $2,500 per month. Landlords have tried aggressively to pursue the luxury decontrol procedure in recent years, filing 8,185 petitions from Jan. 2011 to Dec. 2013.

Still, deregulation is a polarizing issue in Albany, with tenant advocates opposed to losing any rent-regulated units while landlords often look to get rid of them in hopes of cashing in on a hot real estate market, according to the news site. [DNAinfo]Julie Strickland