“New York Democrats want you to know that, if voters give them control of the state Senate this fall, they’ll act to make your apartment building . . . more like a deteriorating public-housing project.
State Sen. Michael Gianaris and Assemblyman Brian Barnwell, both of Queens, don’t put it that way, of course; they claim their bill is pro-tenant because it means lower rents — and never mind the impact on private-sector housing stock.
The decades-old Major Capital Improvements provision in the rent-stabilization law allows landlords to hike rents up to 6 percent a year to recoup the costs of upgrades to their buildings. The Queens lawmakers would offer landlords a tax credit instead — and roll back rents to pre-improvement levels for all MCI-linked rent hikes over the past decade.
You don’t have to be a landlord advocate to realize that tax credits could never help them to fully recoup the costs of improvements, much less get financing: Banks require an income stream (i.e., higher rents) to finance new debt.
Tenants in aging buildings benefit from the capital improvements; even with the modest hike, stabilized rents remain well below market levels.
Other Democrats are eager to expand the rent laws in other ways, all the way up to the grandiose “universal rent control” pushed by Cynthia Nixon and Jumaane Williams. Why let reality stand in the way of winning votes?
For another take on what guaranteed-super-low rents actually mean in the real world, consider last week’s report from the Citizens Budget Commission. Analyzing data from the Census Bureau’s New York City Housing and Vacancy Survey, it found that the city’s private-housing stock has improved over the last four years — while NYCHA’s public housing has badly deteriorated.”