Because the world is round, New York City landlords and affordable housing advocates are battling over how the rent laws should change when they come before the State Legislature for renewal next year. The Times talks with several small landlords who say that Mayor Bill de Blasio, a small landlord himself, has created a "dangerous" climate for them. He helped passed the smallest rent regulated increases ever; he made a public registry for bad landlords; and he's raise water and sewer rates.
For landlords in hot areas like Park Slope (lookin' at you, Mr. Mayor: "He can rent a house for $5,000 a month while arguing to not increase rents. It's pretty outrageous."), this may not make a huge difference, but for landlords deeper in the boroughs, it's can mean bad news. For one homeowner out in Bay Ridge, where the market rate rent on his two units is no higher than $1,400, higher costs meant that this year he did not make enough money to cover expenses, including $31,000 for a new boiler. A landlord in Chelsea argued that "the administration needs to look at this landlord issue as not a singular group." With the Republicans now controlling the State Senate, landlord advocacy groups hope they'll find success.
Affordable housing advocates know they have a tough fight, and the Times reports that tenant groups are narrowing their focus. Instead of pushing for the city to "wrest control of rent regulation from the state" to make laws stricter, tenant groups are fighting to repeal the provision that allows landlords to deregulate rent-stabilized apartments if a unit becomes vacant and the rent surpasses $2,500.
"Nearly 5,000 stabilized apartments were lost to deregulation through vacancies last year," writes the Times, "and tenant leaders regard the vacancy loophole as the single largest threat to affordable housing in the city." But for landlords of buildings with 10 units or fewer, deregulation is "lifeblood" for them, according to owner advocates.
So, in sum: same old story. Landlord groups and tenant groups do not agree. On anything. Ever.
· Landlords Say de Blasio Ignores Their Plight [NYT]
· Rent Guidelines Board Approves Lowest-Ever Rent Increases [Curbed]