Control Yourselves, Candidates: Rent Caps Would Derail New Construction


Control Yourselves, Candidates: Rent Caps Would Derail New Construction

2018-08-27T10:16:56+00:00August 27th, 2018|Local Updates, National Updates|

“An insurgency on the primary-election campaign trail retails an appealing message to New York’s legions of overstretched tenants: rent control for everyone, everywhere.

A city and state already struggling to build enough places to live needs this like a hole in the ground — which such laws would as good as dig.

Cynthia Nixon and Jumaane Williams, running for governor and lieutenant governor, want to work with Senate candidates like Brooklyn’s Julia Salazar to not only tweak existing rent rules that some landlords exploit to eject lower-rent tenants — Democrats’ standard stance in Albany — but also to extend regulations to all but the smallest buildings, whether they’ve been built yet or not.

Do that, and good luck finding lenders willing to bankroll new construction.

The threat is not theoretical. The state’s existing rent regulations expire at the end of June, necessitating some kind of action. Should Democrats take full charge of Albany in November, they’re primed to limit sharp rent increases allowed to landlords when apartments go vacant, end the deregulation of emptied apartments once rents reach a threshold (currently $2,733 a month), and end landlords’ power to initially charge less than the legal max but then spike rents upon leases’ renewal.

Anyone of these could challenge landlords’ ability to finance upkeep and improvements.

This state can have a fair debate when the time comes, weighing risks and benefits. Expanding controls to new buildings — folly attempted only once, in the 1970s — would as good as starve an expanding city of room to grow.”

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