Friday, December 26, 2014

NY Times' "What's Up Next in NY: Airbnb and Rent Regulation"

NY Times article  EXCERPT: 

Meanwhile, New Yorkers living in the city’s nearly one million rent-stabilized apartments should brace for a fight in Albany in June, when the rent-stabilization law expires. Housing advocates hope to see a reversal of a rule that allows landlords to deregulate vacant units if the rent reaches $2,500 a month.

Over the past 20 years, at least 133,000 units in the city have gone market rate because of this rule, according to the Rent Guidelines Board.  If the trend continues, rent stabilization could be further weakened, undermining Mayor de Blasio’s efforts to preserve affordable housing, say supporters of the policy.

“This is our make or break moment for the tenant movement,” said Ilana Maier, the program director for the Metropolitan Council on Housing. “If we aren’t able to drastically strengthen the rules now, none of this will matter in 10 years.”

But with a Republican-controlled State Senate, opponents of rent stabilization doubt that 2015 will be a watershed year for the tenants’ movement. Sherwin Belkin, a lawyer who represents landlords, said: “Landlords view this as an opportunity to make some much-needed changes to rent regulation.”

One suggested change: require rent-stabilized tenants to verify their income.

This website's editorial comment: That suggestion (apparently by big real estate interests) for changing the rent laws would require rent-stabilized tenants to verify their income.  

But income is irrelevant to keeping New York City's stock of affordable housing by repealing vacancy deregulation.  Some 95% of apartments that are de-regulated lose their protection when they are VACANT - so the tenants' income has nothing to do with it.  Only about 5% of rent stabilized apartments are de-regulated because the household income is $200,000 or more AND the rent is at least $2500.  In any event, the median income for rent stabilized apartments is roughly $39,000/year. 

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