Tuesday, February 13, 2024

NYC Comptroller report cites warehousing as big problem

 NYC Comptroller's Spotlight: NYC's Housing Supply Challenge, Feb. 13, 2024: 


One particular area of concern in the gap between vacant and available units is in the rent-stabilized stock. An August 2023 report by the city’s Independent Budget Office finds that almost a third of vacant rent-stabilized units (in 2022) were also vacant in the prior year, for a total of nearly 13,400 such units. Moreover, the IBO found that this number has more than doubled since 2017, when there were estimated to be roughly 6,500 such long-vacant units. Some property owners’ advocates have argued that the increase reflects changes in the rent regulation laws in the 2019 Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act (HSTPA), making it more difficult to increase the rents on vacant units and therefore potentially decreasing owners’ incentives to repair those that require improvements. Tenants’ advocates argue that the restrictions were necessary to prevent displacement and preserve affordability, and that the increase may reflect buildings that were overleveraged prior to 2019. Whatever the reason, these units are an important resource of affordable housing that is not currently available – another issue for Albany to address this session.

Thursday, February 8, 2024

We're Celebrating a Winning Streak!

The Coalition to End Apartment Warehousing wound up 2023 with some serious wins.  Through the hard work of our members and other tenant advocates - with rallies, meetings, an influential case study emails, phone calls to elected officials, public testimony, videos, op-eds, media wrangling, tweets and more - we all achieved a lot together: 

  • The NYS Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) adopted a new set of regulations  that we hard for that discourage Frankensteining, ending a major incentive for warehousing affordable apartments.   These regulations set more affordable first rents for combined units and keep them rent stabilized.  But regulations are vulnerable to change, so it was vital that we helped enact...
  • ...the "anti-Frankensteining" bill (S.2980 as amended by S.8011), sponsored by Housing Committee chairs Senator Brian Kavanagh and Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal.  This bill codifies the regulations into statute, making them more difficult to change going forward since that would require another bill and vote in the legislature.  Gov. Hochul signed it into law in December. 
  • The New York City Council passed our tenant safety bill (Intro. 195) - which allows tenants to prompt city inspection of neighboring vacant apartments and go to court if necessary to remove hazards.  The bill was passed with the strong support of sponsors Council Members Carlina Rivera, Gale Brewer and their colleagues. 
These achievements were possible because we have a strong city-wide tenant advocacy coalition composed of community groups and committed volunteers working together.  And we have high hopes that in 2024 we can reduce warehousing and make more affordable apartments available during our ongoing housing crisis.

Help us build on our successes and join us!  For information, contact Jodie Leidecker (jodiel@coopersquare.org) of the Cooper Square Committee. 

NYC Comptroller report cites warehousing as big problem

  NYC Comptroller's Spotlight:  NYC's Housing Supply Challenge , Feb. 13, 2024:  EXCERPT: One particular area of concern in the gap ...