The co-op buildings are part of the city’s Housing Development Fund Corp. (HDFC) program, which gives homesteaders ownership of blighted buildings, along with certain conditions and enticements, per the Post, where the story was Page 1 on Sunday (with the headline "Man of Steal.")
Per the article:
The private co-ops were once derelict buildings in neighborhoods like Harlem, Washington Heights and the Lower East Side that the cash-strapped city sold to residents beginning in the 1980s for as little as $250 per unit. The city was happy to off-load the headache properties, which had been abandoned by absentee landlords or seized from tax deadbeats.
Over the years, the homesteaders banded together to create livable apartments, and at the same time revitalized blighted neighborhoods.
Now, the city wants to seize control of what have become valuable assets, and livid residents are preparing for a legal war to stop it.
While many of the co-op buildings have prospered, the city says 27 percent of them are in "significant distress" from mismanagement and other issues.
According to the Post, with de Blasio’s proposal, two years in the making, the buildings would sign 40-year agreements with City Hall that would put them under the watch of a nonprofit monitor that the city would choose, and the co-op would pay for.
Several Manhattan City Council members are asking the city — specifically Maria Torres-Springer, the incoming Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) commissioner — to hold off on the process to "ensure real meaningful input" from co-op residents.
"There was virtually no consultation with HDFC shareholders as this regulatory agreement was being crafted, and it was essentially sprung on them after it was already completed,” Council member Corey Johnson told the Post. (The paper called de Blasio's planning "Stalinesque.")
Critics contend this is merely a political move to boost the mayor's affordable housing numbers. Per the Post: "De Blasio has pledged to create or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing in 10 years — and the controversial plan would add 30,000 units to his inventory."
A spokesperson for the mayor said that said the proposal was meant to protect HDFC co-ops.
One EVG reader and co-op resident recently summed up the situation this way:
This new proposed Regulatory Agreement is overreaching and would result in a loss of autonomy and decision-making abilities that benefit HDFC buildings, as well as costing individual shareholders hard-earned equity.
The new rules include a 30 percent flip tax on all units when they sell; the requirement of hiring outside managers and monitors at our expense; a ban on owning other residential property within a 100-mile radius of New York City; and more draconian clauses. Community meetings to discuss the agreement have been contentious and hostile, and so far not one HDFC in the entire city has publicly supported the plan. Very few HDFCs in the city need financial help and we strongly oppose a "one size fits all" regulatory agreement that will cost us money, resources, and most important, value in our home equity.
The problem was that HDP wrote the Regulatory Agreement without any input from HDFC shareholders. When we caught wind of what was happening, we were able to force a community meeting, with the help of Council Member Mendez's office. They have since held a handful of meetings but say they are moving forward within the next couple of months. They are also not giving a clear timeline, which of course has many of us panicked.
For more background, you may visit the HDFC Coalition website here. There is also a petition here.
Previously on EV Grieve:
Meeting on Jan. 17 for shareholders living in HDFC buildings
CB3 will hear HPD presentation on HDFC regulatory agreement this Wednesday night