Landlords Rebate $1M to Tenants | de Blasio Pushes Sandy Tax Cut | Rents Rise Out of Reach

April 17th 2014

World’s Fair of 1964-1965 showed a different side of the Port Authority

  1. Landlords to repay over $1M in fees. After he spent 21 days in the hospital with a case of pneumonia he believes was triggered from the lack of heat, Benjamin Warren decided to do something about his residence. He, his neighbors and the tenants of 41 other rent-regulated buildings with the same owners in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan began organizing for better conditions. On Monday, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced that he had reached a settlement with the owners, Westbrook Partners and Normandy Real Estate, that would require them to make repairs, resolve thousands of building violations and provide tenants with more than $1 million in rebates for illegal fees and overcharges. Mr. Schneiderman said the agreement would bring relief to thousands of long-suffering tenants and put other landlords on notice that his office would not tolerate tenant harassment. [New York Times – 04/14/14]
  2. New York City mayor pushes Sandy tax cut. About 1,500 New York City property owners who have rebuilt or repaired their homes after superstorm Sandy face an increase in their property tax bills this year because the fixes boosted the homes’ value. Mayor Bill de Blasio and his aides said Wednesday they are seeking to built support in Albany for state legislation that would provide a property tax break for these Sandy victims. [Wall Street Journal – 04/16/14]
  3. Is $95 million enough? New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that over $95 million will be allocated to fund affordable housing projects in the state this year. Advocates were quick to publicly praise the Cuomo Administration for its allocation, but privately some affordable housing developers said the amount was a drop in the bucket, and that far more resources are needed, especially because the federal allocations to the state continue to dwindle. [WNYC – 04/16/14]
  4. Brooklyn landlords illegaly harassed, targeted rent-stabilized tenants: suit. A group of Brooklyn tenants have filed a federal lawsuit against two landlords, accusing the defendants of illegally trying to force them out of their rent-stabilized apartments to make room for new renters who pay market rates.The Flatbush Development Corporation and the Flatbush Tenants Coalition, along with 11 named tenants, filed the housing discrimination case Monday in Brooklyn federal court. [New York Daily News – 04/15/14]
  5. In many cities, rent is rising out of reach of middle class. For rent and utilities to be considered affordable, they are supposed to take up no more than 30 percent of a household’s income. But that goal is increasingly unattainable for middle-income families as a tightening market pushes up rents ever faster, outrunning modest rises in pay. The strain is not limited to the usual high-cost cities like New York and San Francisco. An analysis for The New York Times by Zillow, the real estate website, found 90 cities where the median rent - not including utilities - was more than 30 percent of the median gross income. [New York Times – 04/14/14]
  6. Tenant woes continue at one de Blasio watch list building. Entering her apartment at 2856 Webb Ave. in Kingsbridge, Iliana Rodriguez immediately points to problems. This may be the first time this troubled building has been covered in the press, but it’s not a hidden crisis. Then-Public Advocate Bill de Blasio highlighted it on-line and the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) has been inspecting the building and pressuring the landlord. The list the mayor left behind still exists but it’s frozen in time, listing the status of the worst buildings as of October 2013. Letitia James, who succeeded de Blasio as public advovate, is planning to re-launch the site. But, according to her spokeswoman, there ‘is no specific date at this time.’ [City Limits – 04/15/14]
  7. Suburbs try to prevent an exodus as young adults move to cities and stay. It is a well-trod trail: Suburban youngsters enter their early 20s, leave their parents’ comfortable Tudors or colonials for the pizzazz of the city, dwadle a few years until they find mates and begin having children and then, seeking more space and good public schools, move back to the suburbs and into their own Tudors of colonials. But that pattern is changing, or at least shifting. A recent report on the suburb-dotted New York counties of Westchester, Nassau and Suffok, based on United States census data, found that those young people seem to be lingering longer in New York City, sometimes forsaking suburban life entirely. [New York Times – 04/16/14]
  8. World’s Fair showed a different side of the Port Authority. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey designs, builds and maintains the engines of the regional economy: airports, marine terminals, rail lines, tunnels, bridges and, of course, life-size fiberglass dinosaurs. Yes, dinosaurs. At least that was its mission half a century ago when Robert Moses, the president of the New York World’s Fair 1964-1965 Corporation, turned over planning and development of the fair’s entire 80-acre transportation area to the bistate agency, then known as the Port of New York Authority. [New York Times – 04/16/14]
  9. Settlement prevents apartments’ foreclosure. The owners of 1,700 below-market apartments in New York City have struck a deal with their lenders and the state attorney general’s office to rescue the portfolio from foreclosure and bring in new management. The so-called Three Borough Pool was the largest portfolio to face financial problems since a number of owners of low-cost apartments ran into trouble around the time of the recession, and its difficulties drew the attention of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. [Wall Street Journal – 04/15/14]
  10. Hudson Yards to be first ‘quantified community.’ New York University is teaming up with the developers of Hudson Yards in the hopes big data collected from the future 28-acre complex will help it run more efficiently and make it a better place to live and work.NYU’s Center for Urban Science and Progress announced last week that the mixed-use neighborhood being built over a Long Island Rail Road yard on the far West Side of Manhattan will be the first “quantified community” in the entire country-meaning the university, in concert with Related Cos. and Oxford Properties Group, will collect information on pedestrian traffic, air quality, energy production and consumption, and even the health and activity levels of workers and residents. [Crain’s New York Business – 04/14/14]
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