Starting this week, 2,500 vacant apartments throughout the five boroughs will be made available to displaced victims of Hurricane Sandy through the listing website Urban Edge. The city has been working with landlords and housing authorities for a month on the program in order to alleviate overcrowded shelters and move families out of hotels. The Journal reports that units will be available on a first come, first served basis, and tenants can lease directly from landlords or fill out an application for the city to place them. More units will be available in the coming months, as some landlords have indicated that buildings currently being renovated will be added to the program.
The legality of short term leases was a concern, but many landlords said they will offer the required 12 month lease but let victims break the lease with no penalties. Others will be working with housing group Common Ground, which will lease the units directly, then sublease them to tenants for shorter terms. The program will help storm victims, but it will worsen the housing shortage?the vacancy rate is only 3 percent?faced by the entire city.
· Deal on Sandy Housing [WSJ]
· New Program Seeks to Fill Vacant Units With Storm Victims [Curbed]
Photo by Nathan Kensinger