Mayor Bloomberg signed a continuation of current rent regulation laws by declaring a housing emergency that has been going on for as long as the Department of Housing Preservation and Development has been keeping records on its defining statistic. Per the current regulations, a housing emergency that triggers rent control is in effect whenever vacancy rates dip below 5%. In the 40 years that the Dept. of Housing has tracked that figure, it has never been above 5%.
Bloomberg's continuation of the rent control regulations comes at a time when an Upper West Side landlord, Dan Harmon, is challenging their legality all the way to the Supreme Court. Harmon claims that rent stabilization laws are an illegal taking of his property, in which the government forces him to subsidize its affordable housing policies.
One man who took full advantage of our permanent housing emergency is Congressman Charles Rangel, who was leasing four rent stabilized apartments in the Harlem building where he lived, according to the Post. Representative Rangel— censured in 2010 for avoiding taxes and concealing assets through his ownership of a vacation home in the Dominican Republic—was just fined $23,000 for using one of those rent-stabilized apartments as a campaign office. He was paying $630 a month for the 1BR unit, which had a market rate rent of $1,700 a month.
· Decades-Old Housing ‘Emergency’ Continues, and So Does Rent Regulation [NYT]
· 23G Rent Fine For Rangel [NYP]
· James Harmon coverage