An online petition launched last week that calls on New York City landlords to withhold property tax payment, in response to a statewide rent strike organized this month. As the Real Deal first reported, the Change.org appeal, “Property Tax relief or Tax strike,” has collected nearly 1,500 signatures as of Monday.
“We all know that there are tenants that can pay their rent, many of whom are getting severance, all of whom are getting stimulus checks and increased unemployment,” Garold Wilder, the author of the petition, wrote. “They aren’t paying, because govt encourages that behavior.” The online petition has not been officially endorsed by any real estate group.
The call for a tax strike comes after a statewide rent strike for May was organized by tenant advocates with the goal of pressuring Gov. Andrew Cuomo to cancel rent and mortgage payments during the coronavirus pandemic. Advocates are seeking cancellation of rents for at least four months, a freeze on rent for every tenant, and a plan to house homeless New Yorkers.
A property tax strike could be devastating for the city as the taxes make up its largest revenue source. Facing a massive $7.4 billion loss in tax revenue amid the pandemic, the city is relying on property tax collection, which is estimated to be roughly $30 billion, or about 30 percent of total annual revenue.
“It’s Economics 101 – no rent revenue stream means no resources for landlords to pay their property taxes and water bills – and with this industry one of the few left standing during this pandemic, the city needs every tax dollar to continue providing essential services and paying public hospital workers, emergency responders, teachers and other municipal workers,” Joseph Strasburg, the president of the Rent Stabilization Association, said in a statement to 6sqft last week.
Some property owners have called on a reduction or suspension of property taxes, which are due by July. But as the Real Deal notes, most mortgages require the money for taxes to be deducted and placed in an escrow account in advance.
[Via The Real Deal]
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