Overleveraged Housing Plagues Rentals | New RGB Chair | Incomes Down, Rents Up, Comptroller Says

April 24th 2014

Advocates call for de Blasio for “real affordable” housing

  1. De Blasio to name new Rent Guidelines Board chair. On Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio will name Rachel Godsil - a former assistant U.S. attorney and law professor with expertise in land use, environmental justice and race-as the new chair of the city’s Rent Guidelines Board, according to City Hall sources. The announcement will come in advance of the board’s public meeting Thursday. Last month, Mr. de Blasio named five new members to the board, which sets rents for the approximately 1 million apartments across the city that are subject to New York’s rent stabilization laws. He will appoint several more later this year. [Crain’s New York Business – 04/24/14]
  2. How NYC can solve its affordable housing crisis. How can New York City solve its shortage of affordable housing? Simple: Preserve the cheaper housing we already have, and build new housing that New Yorkers can actually afford. The problem is that the most effective ways the city can do that - strengthening rent regulations and building publicly funded housing - are currently illegal. [Gothamist – 04/23/14]
  3. Landlord accused of trashing apartments to boot rent-regulated tenants hit with subpoena by Gov. Cuomo. A Brooklyn landlord who officials say is deliberately trashing apartments was hit with a subpoena Wednesday by the Cuomo administration. The state Tenant Protection Unit served the subpoena on JBI Management, whose principals Joel and Aaron Israel own 10 buildings in gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhoods. [New York Daily News – 04/24/14]
  4. Garodnick calls for ‘citywide action’ to stop predatory equity. Building owners who intentionally take on more debt than can be supported by existing tenants are part of a pervasive problem that “calls out for some citywide action,” according to a new report released Tuesday by Councilman Dan Garodnick. Garodnick proposed a variety of measures to combat the problem, including doubling the size of a program that allows the city to repair distressed properties then bill the owners and creating new guidelines for the federal Community Reinvestment Act by pushing banks to consider the quality of loans being issued in low-income communities. [Capital New York – 04/22/14]
  5. Companies built on sharing balk when it comes to regulators. In the newfangled sharing economy, questions about safety, taxes and regulation have tended to be an afterthought. That has helped propel companies like Uber, Airbnb and Lyft into the stratosphere. The companies are fighting back by rallying their impassioned and growing customer base. And they are stocking up on lawyers and lobbyists. The latest confrontation comes Tuesday as Airbnb, the largest housing rental company, goes to court in Albany. It is fighting an effort by New York regulators to collect the names of Airbnb hosts who are breaking the law by renting out multiple properties for short periods. Attempts at old-fashioned regulation are being cheered on by the taxi and hotel industries, who feel their livelihood is being threatened. Affordable-housing advocates are now joining the fray, saying companies like Airbnb are worsening a crisis. ‘You are throwing gasoline on a fire that the rest of us are trying to put out,’ a coalition of housing groups, Real Affordability for All, asserted Monday in an open letter to Airbnb. [The New York Times – 04/22/14]
  6. Advocacy group pushes Mayor de Blasio to add more cheaper apartments. Real Affordability for All - a coalition of 50 groups, including nonprofit developers, tenant groups and clergy - will issue a ‘policy platform’ aimed to influence the mayor, whom they backed during his campaign. Most projects that include affordable units are 80% market rate and 20% affordable, and the rent limits on the cheaper apartments often expire after a decade or so. Real Affordability wants a 50-50 split, and an assurance that the units stay affordable permanently. ‘We have to change the rules, and we believe that 50-50 is one of the biggest ways to rewrite the rules,’ said Jonathan Westin of New York Communities for Change. [New York Daily News – 04/24/14]
  7. New York City housing push should aim at poorest, report says. The New York City comptroller, Scott M. Stringer, is recommending that the city focus its affordable housing efforts on the most burdened residents - those in households making $40,000 or less a year - and also invest in ‘stabilizing’ a crumbling public housing system that has risen in importance as fewer low-income New Yorkers can afford to live in private apartments. [The New York Times – 04/23/14]
  8. Property sales surge across city. Sales of properties of all sorts soared all across the city in the first quarter from the levels of a year earlier, and are on pace to set post-recession records for the year in terms of the number of sales and the average price per square foot, according to a report released Tuesday morning by Massey Knakal Realty Services. [Crain’s New York Business – 04/22/14]
  9. The housing market is still holding back the economy. Here’s why. If the economy still feels stuck, blame the housing market. That may not match how people in a handful of big, prosperous cities see things. After a disastrous and historic crash, housing is booming in places like San Francisco and New York. Bidding wars are back, and the question is not whether the real estate market is recovering but whether new bubbles are inflating. [The New York Times – 04/24/14]
  10. Inside the country’s first multi-family affordable passive house apartments. It’s passively revolutionary. The country’s first multi-family affordable apartment complex built to strict passive house environmental standards has opened at 424 Melrose St. in Bushwick. The Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council and architect Chris Benedict completed the four-story white brick structure known as “The Mennonite” in February, and 22 of the building’s 24 units now have tenants. [New York Daily News – 04/22/14]
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