With rents on the rise and the e-commerce industry showing no signs of slowing, the livelihood of small businesses in New York City remains under threat. Council Member Stephen Levin, who represents parts of Brooklyn, hopes to address the high rate of retail vacancies across the city with legislation to regulate commercial rents, as Gothamist first reported. “It’s a complex problem,” Levin, who will introduce a bill to the City Council next week, told the website. “We think it’s time to introduce this into the conversation.”
In June, New York state lawmakers passed landmark legislation to strengthen rent and tenant protections. Hoping to clear up any ambiguity over the new laws, Mayor Bill de Blasio is launching an ad campaign and new website to help renters understand their rights as well as hold landlords responsible. Starting Monday, ads will be displayed across subway stations, bus stops, local newspapers, small businesses, and Link kiosks until Dec. 15.
412 West 46th Street. Image via Google Street View..
The city has named the owners of three Hell’s Kitchen buildings in a lawsuit filed this week in Manhattan Supreme Court for operating illegal short-term rentals in rent-stabilized apartments, the New York Observer reports. The city says the owners of 410 and 412 West 46th Street and 452 West 36th Street have neglected their buildings, harassed tenants to get them to move out, deregulated units and kept units vacant to rent out on a short-term basis. Tenants of one building were left without gas or a roof for six months in 2015 due to a fire; the other two are awash in building code violations.
In June, the state’s Court of Appeals found that apartments at two Lower Manhattan buildings had been unlawfully deregulated by landlords who had collected millions of dollars in benefits under a 1995 tax program. Now, as The City reports, thousands of former or current tenants in the area may be owed up to six years in back rent from landlords who received the tax breaks for years.
Via Creative Commons
A group of real estate groups and individual property owners filed a lawsuit Monday, challenging newly passed laws that strengthen rent and tenant protections in New York City. Last month, Democratic officials in Albany passed a landmark package of bills that close loopholes that have allowed landlords to increase rents and deregulate stabilized apartments. The lawsuit, filed by the Rent Stabilization Association (RSA), the Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP), and seven individual property owners, claims that the laws, as well as the entire rent regulation system, violate the 14th and Fifth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, as reported by The Real Deal.
In front of a packed auditorium at Cooper Union’s Great Hall last night, the Rent Guidelines Board voted on rent hikes for the city’s one million rent-stabilized apartments, the New York Times reports. The board voted 5-4 and approved a 1.5% increase on one-year leases and 2.5% on two-year leases. The new rents will kick in on October 1.
Image via Pixabay.
Real estate industry leaders say they will file a lawsuit against the state to challenge a package of bills containing changes to current rent regulations, which expire on June 15, the Observer reports. As 6sqft previously reported, the legislative package headed to both chambers for a vote this week contains landmark changes to current rent regulations aimed at strengthening New York’s rent laws and tenant protections. Industry stakeholders say they’ll challenge the legislation on several points including one that makes the rules permanent, rather than having them expire every few years. The lawsuit would also challenge the retroactive nature of a provision to lower the amount landlords can charge for major capital improvements.
Democratic leaders in Albany announced Tuesday that an agreement has been reached on a package of bills that will significantly strengthen New York’s rent laws and tenant protections. As the New York Times reports, contained in the legislative package headed to both chambers for a vote this week are landmark changes to current rent regulations, which expire on June 15. The new legislation is meant to address concerns about the high cost of housing and the sweeping inequality that has resulted from it. To that end, as the Times explains, “the changes would abolish rules that let building owners deregulate apartments, close a series of loopholes that permit them to raise rents and allow some tenant protections to expand statewide.” These changes have long been opposed by the real estate industry, which lost some of its influence in Albany when its Republican allies became outnumbered in the State Senate in the November elections.
Update 9/27/18: City Comptroller Scott Stringer said the report released this week about the decrease in affordable housing contained a major miscalculation, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. Instead of the 1 million affordable apartments lost, as the report stated, the true number is less than half of that, or 425,492 units. According to an updated report, the number of apartments renting for $2,700/month increased by 111,000 units between 2005 and 2017, instead of 238,000 units as originally stated. “While it remains true that affordable housing is declining at an unsettling rate and the gap is still growing, we overstated the pace,” Ilana Maier, a spokesperson for Stringer, said in a statement. “We made a genuine mistake.”
Since 2005, New York City has lost over 1 million affordable apartments, according to a report released by the City Comptroller Scott Stringer on Tuesday. The report, “The Gap is Still Growing,” builds from an original 2014 analysis from the comptroller’s office and shows the number of available units has failed to keep up with the city’s booming population. Between 2005 and 2016, about 576,000 people moved to NYC. But the city added just over 76,000 new units of rental housing.
Rep. Joeseph Crowley announced federal legislation this week that aims to create two refundable tax credits for low- and middle-income renters. For rental households across the U.S. with incomes of $125,000 or less, the Rent Relief Act would provide them with one of two tax credits, if the bill becomes law. According to the Democratic congressman, who represents part of the Bronx and Queens in New York’s 14th congressional district, roughly 111 million Americans live in rental housing, with about two-thirds of all households in New York City currently renting, twice the national average.