Monday, June 6, 2011

Reminders tonight: A discussion on proposed rent hikes

Reposting this from yesterday...

This is at the corner of the Bowery where the CB3/SLA meetings usually take place.


Anonymous said...

tenants have to understand that nothing in this town is free. Landlords' costs keep going up.. and the City of New York takes 1 / 3 of the gross rents in taxes.

Anonymous said...

And landlords have to understand that they can only squeeze the elderly and the poor and those on fixed incomes so far. If rent control ends, I'd be on the street, and so would the other stabilized tenants of our building. The landlord makes huge profits off the renovated off-market apartments, he can well afford to carry five or six rent-regulated tenants.

Eric said...

Landlords need to understand that they made very bad business decisions when they purchased their building. They expected to be able to easily bring all units to market rate; they expected market rate to continue to go up at an insane pace.

In any other business, we'd expect the owner to sell at a loss. We'd expect them to take responsibility for their bad decisions.

However in NYC real estate, it seems that an increase of profit is looked on as a right of a land owner, no matter what.

That needs to end. We need to not only protect the existing rent regulations but bring hundreds of thousands of other units into a similar program.

Anonymous said...

Love that melodramatic Commie raised fist on the flyer-- "oppressed rent-controlled tenants, unite!".

The irony is that these tenants are the furthest thing from "oppressed"-- they're the beneficiaries of arbitrary, irrational laws; a politically- protected group who lucked into sweet rent deals.

Rent controlled apartments are handed down within families for generations in this town-- gramps' apartment becomes mom's pied-a-terre, which becomes junior's college crib... the family real estate legacy.

When their sweet deals are threatened, these tenants feign oppression, wailing that they'll be homeless if subjected to the same rental market that tens of thousands of newcomers deal with.

Somehow, immigrant newcomers who barely speak the language, and hick twenty year olds from the midwest manage to put roofs over their heads without special legislation, yet for some strange reason individuals whose families have lived in NYC for generations will suddenly be "homeless" unless their sweet deal is in place.

Anonymous said...

the housing market is inflated and the Bloomberg administration is corrupt asshole!

Anonymous said...

Someone has to pay for our schools and our hospitals and all of our other municipal services. If landlords don't pay taxes, someone else pays the taxes or looses the services. Take your pick - pay taxes through the rent, pay taxes directly to the city or watch teacher lay-offs, hospital closings and the 1970's return.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, don't be such a wet blanket to remind us that all goods and services cost money. I say all goods and services are... ahem... Human Rights! Therefore, when somebody else doesn't subsidize my housing, they're trampling on my basic human rights! (fist raised in righteous anger-)

Anonymous said...

don't i wish it were the 1970's NY. i don't even recognize NY anymore. Yeah maybe there was crime and maybe people were poor but people are still poor and rich people continue to take over every inch of property. I would gladly welcome the 1970's at least people had housing. Maybe people didn't have jobs but people had housing. Go to hell!

Anonymous said...

Rent control/stabilization has destroyed NYC's middle-class. We now live in a city where only the very poor and very rich can live. On 80k a year, I'm too "poor" to keep my family in the city and too "rich" to get public housing.

Anonymous said...

"Rent control has the perverse effect of creating less affordable housing. By artificially lowering rents on some units with long term tenants, even in some cases forcing landlords to maintain that at a loss, rent control forces landlords to recoup this lost income on newly vacated units, thus increasing rent for new tenants beyond what is necessary. By creating a disincentive to move from units where they enjoy artificially low rent, such rent regulation will actually limit individuals’ mobility." (-Wikepedia, Rent Control)

Anonymous said...

No what's destroyed NYC's middle class are the greedy people of the Seward Park and East River co-ops which were created for the middle class people.

Here's a quote from "Ted" who commented on The Lo-Down 6/3 "Grant Street Apartment of the Week"

"Bear in mind that these buildings were built for moderate income working people but the greedy money grubbers took over".

CB3 chair Dominic Pisciotta is a Seward Park co-op owner happens to be on the land use committee. Other co-op owners are also on the land use committee. They along with the Bloomberg administration are pushing for a SPURA plan which will be a mixed income 50 percent market rate housing development.

The SPURA site which is city owned land was promised to people who were displaced over 40 yrs. ago. They now want to crumble the Essex Street Market as well, to make way for new developments.

So the prices for the greedy co-op's are escalating and the Seward Park sites will be 50 percent market rate with a very small portion of the other 50 percent going to low income persons and they want to tear down the Essex Street Market.

The co-ops have already turned over several times. People who own the co-ops just want their property value to go up.

How fair is this?

Rocky Raccoon said...

Rocky can never understand why people hate rent-stabilized tenants and need to villify them. This mentality seems to be all the rage - "if I can't have it noone can." The reason many raccoons still live in rent-stabilized apartments in the EV is because when we moved here noone wanted to freakin live here, so landlords were more than happy to get a decent rent. Now that the EV is so sexy those of us who made it sexy are supposed to just leave. That's bullshit.

My den has been sold three times since that first landlord was happy to have me. So don't feel sorry for him - he sold for a pretty penny. Rents in stabilized apartments increase every year, usually 4% yet most people don't see their income go up by 4% so stop acting like everyone in a rent stabilized apartment is living on the dole.

Finally the number of affordable units being developed or that have been developed through SPURA, The LES Girl's Club, the demoliton of the Mar's Bar, the destruction of the Essex Street market and that monstrosity on Houston and the Bowery called Avalon Bay are a drop in the bucket compared to the number of units being lost everyday through vacancy and luxury decontrol.
On any given day Rocky feels like he lives in the middle ages where a group of drunken marauding pawns of the king decide they want some land so they poison the wells, shoot the horses, burn the crops and defile the women and children - just because they feel like it and just because they can.

HippieChick said...

Zackly, Rocky! I'm the last rent-controlled tenant left in the building, with about eight stabilized tenants and the rest free-market in renovated pads. The landlord, an evil greedy pig, danced for joy when the only other rc tenant recently died and now he can gut yet another flat and rent it for 2 or 3 grand.

Landlord bought the building KNOWING he had regulated tenants who weren't all going to die off immediately just to please him, so fuck him and the horse he rode in on. He was happy to have us when no one wanted to live here, as Rocky says, so he can just suck it up now.

I'm not leaving until they carry me out feet first. Or drag me out kicking and screaming and shooting at them. I really would be homeless if rc ended, despite the scoffings of some people here: I'm living on Social Security, and after the monthly nut of rent/Con Ed/phone/medical/back taxes/etc. is made, I have a whopping 600 bucks of "discretionary income" per month. For discretionary things like food, transport, etc. And I have no family to move in with. I'm quite sure I'm not the only one in this situation, either.

So shut the fuck up about whiners and entitlements. The rich newbies are the self-entitled ones doing the whining. People like me are just trying to get buy. We don't all work on Wall Street, you know...

Anonymous said...

"Rent control has the perverse effect of creating less affordable housing. By artificially lowering rents on some units with long term tenants, even in some cases forcing landlords to maintain that at a loss, rent control forces landlords to recoup this lost income on newly vacated units, thus increasing rent for new tenants beyond what is necessary."

Yeeeeeeah, and this is perfectly correct, because NYC landlords are known for charging only what is "necessary".

Oh wait, they actually charge "whatever the market will bear" in order to maximize their profit.

Can anyone point to a single building which lowered the rents of market-rate units as the remaining rent-regulated units switched to market rate?

The problem is that Manhattan housing is currently in virtually infinite demand, driving prices up to the point where only the wealthy from around the world can afford.

The NY populace, through their elected representatives, enacted rent control laws to provide stability for the population. None of the landlords were forced to buy buildings, or to keep them in the years since.

Rent-controlled units, a mere 1.9% of rental stock, are 40% below market rate.

Rent-stabilized units, a massive 48
% of rental stock, are 24% below market rate.

If all those units went market rate, assuming no additional profits for landlords, rents would drop by less than 12%

In the real world, with high demand, the realities of leases and costs associated with moving, it unlikely any market-raters would see their rent drop. However huge numbers of elderly and lower-income citizens would be driven from their homes.

I feel for anonymous 10:26, but guess what - if every rent controlled apartment went market tomorrow, nobody's rent would go down - NYC would simply complete its transition from "a city where only the very poor and very rich can live" to "a city where only the very rich can live."

(numbers are median rather than mean, but you get the point)

Kimberley said...

"The landlord makes huge profits off the renovated off-market apartments, he can well afford to carry five or six rent-regulated tenants."

Entitlement is astounding. God damn I love topping off the rent stabilized people in my building. Hee-hoo! Yes, that's sarcasm.

Ken from Ken's Kitchen said...

They call it "stabilization" for a reason. Rent regulation stabilizes middle income buildings, and it stabilizes middle income neighborhoods. Two important things that rent laws do: guarantee lease renewal and (sort of) orderly rent increases. During the boom years of the bid-2000s, market rate tenants in my building got yearly rent increases (no 2 year leases for them) in the 15-30% range. No middle class American family can budget for that.

That is why a lot of people opt to buy housing instead of rent, so they have a mortgage and know what their housing costs will be from one year to the next. NY is still a mostly rental city. At one time, NY decided it needed a vibrant middle class to keep it healthy and growing, so it regulated rents. A market rate NYC will not be a middle class NYC and it's a very big gamble, especially now that owning is no longer the rock solid investment it was once considered, and developers are putting up crap like the A Building.

Anonymous said...

"after the monthly nut of rent/Con Ed/phone/medical/back taxes/etc."

your monthly nut includes back taxes? Really?

Someone has not been living entirely kosher here....

Jill said...

I have hoped for so long that tenants paying very high rents support rent regulation expansion for themselves. They seem happy to pay these outrageous fortunes and have no rights as tenants. Rent regulation has turned into protecting what exists because that is the bare minimum that can be gained politically because there is no support from market rate tenants to change their fate. Somehow they have come to the conclusion that it is ok to be ripped off by landlords, because they respect the landowner more than themselves (they think one day it will be them?)

But what we need is expansion to protect ALL renters from prohibitive increases that can force people to move over and over and disrupt the lives.

But I believe the truth is that if you can pay those very high rents, then you are unlikely to be a long term resident or care about an investment in the laws because as soon as you save for a down payment, you will own, and it will cost you the same or less.

This issue doesn't have the support it needs from the people who need it most because that class of renter no longer exists.

Jill said...

And to the person who thinks that rent regulated apartments are handed down through the generations, the law is that you are only allowed to hand it down ONCE and the person you hand it to has to have lived there as their primary residence for two years. So please do your research before you spread misinformation.

And to the person quoting wikipedia for a definition of how rent regulations is bad for everyone... please... written by a landlord, as only a landlord could frame it. Get some real information.

Ken from Ken's Kitchen said...

@ Anonymous JUNE 7, 2011 10:26 AM

"We now live in a city where only the very poor and very rich can live."

That is becoming very true, and you blame it on rent regulation. I blame it on lack of rent regulation. Back in 1997, Gov Pataki and State Senate majority leader Joe Bruno effectively ended rent regulation, by forcing "vacancy decontrol" down the throats of Assembly Democrats as the price of renewing rent regulations. Under vacancy decontrol, occupied apartments can remain rent regulated, but allow them to get deregulated once the tenant moves out. That is why it's been the case that for the last 10+ years it's been all but impossible for people looking for a NYC apartment to find one that is rent regulated and affordable.

It was a very smart way to eventually kill rent regulation. The process could even be speeded up if unregulated tenants pitted themselves against regulated. By the way, the vacancy decontrol plans were designed for Pataki by Charles Urstadt, the same guy who, for Gov Nelson Rockefeller, dreamed up the way to take away NYC's home rule over rent regulation back in the early 1970s. Urstadt's idea was to give the legislature in Albany final say over NYC rent regulation, knowing regulation would be steadily chipped away at. Why? Because upstate Republicans with nearly 100% homeowners in their district could vote yes on every anti-rent regulation bill affecting downstate NYers because downstate NYers can't vote them out of office for doing so. Smart.

Jill is right. Market rate tenants have to get smart and begin demanding the same basic housing rights that all of us once enjoyed and were taken away by greedy upstate politicians rolling in landlord lobby money.

blue glass said...

don't forget that the cooper square committee, while "fighting for low income housing", turned down 80% of low income and 20% market asking for 100% low income. and by the time they realized they had to take something (like 40 years or more) all they could get was 80% market and 20% low income.
hence the avalon and the destruction of the bowery/houston neighborhood and more.

Anonymous said...

Jill- you assume that all those living in said apartments have their names on the lease. The point is that these apartments are hoarded because they're steals, families figure out assorted uses over the years, and they also figure out assorted methods of beating the system. Why let go of precious NY real estate that's cheaper than a storage unit? At the very least, use it as a storage unit! I know someone who did just this, for decades.

Jill said...

There will always be people who game the system but the majority don't. Don't lump the honest with the dishonest or punish those who play by the rules.

Anonymous said...

Volunteer at a shelter--see what it is really like to be homeless-
take your blinders off and look around. This could be you too!!!

Ken from Ken's Kitchen said...

"Cheaper than a storage unit" is pure bullshit. I'm paying $1,600/mo for my rent stabilized apt and a number of rent stabilized units in my building are going for over $2,000. None of those people make more than $175,000/year so they haven't been deregulated.

The rest of your 'argument" is bullshit, too. These days landlords hire PIs to suss out illegal sublets, second homes, etc. My neighbor downstairs had to go to court and spend thousands of dollars to prove that the woman with the same name as his who owned the home in Queens is his mom, not his wife. Another family in my building, two old people, were either afraid or unable to go to court in a similar situation. He is senile and she was busy getting her legs cut off due to diabetes out on LI. She recouped out there at her kids' house while a daughter stayed with dad here. He got a scary legal notice that they were living on LI and that their apt of some 30+ years was not their primary residence. They moved out and their place has been vacant for a year.

You want to know who's "gaming the system?" Ask a clerk in housing court. They see landlord BS all the time.

And BTW, how many landlords in the city do you think took city tax breaks to physically maintain buildings with rent stabilized apartments while illegally deregulating those same apartments when tenants moved out? I believe the RSA has the figures and says that proper legal remedies could put thousands of landlords in jeopardy.

Kimberley said...

My neighbor sublets his $420/month place for $1700. So, it's happening.

Ken from Ken's Kitchen said...


Your neighbor is one very lucky duck since a 7 year old survey by NYC Rent Guidelines Board pegged the Median Monthly Rent for all rent stabilized Manhattan apts (1, 2, and 3 bedroom) at $1300/month.

Perhaps this neighbor is in a rent controlled apartment, although there are very few of those left in Manhattan. As of 2008, only 39,901 left. But that's very hard to imagine. A landlord not knowing what's going on in a rent controlled apt?