Housing Starts: Court Grants Class Action | Brooklyn Least Affordable | Landmarks Sites Removal

December 5th 2014

Photo Credit: DNAinfo/Jeanmarie Evelly

  1. N.Y. High Court Certifies Class in Cases Over Alleged NYC Rent Overcharges The New York Court of Appeals has granted class certification in actions brought on behalf of tenants of separate New York City apartment buildings seeking damages for rent overcharges, affirming a lower court’s ruling. The court held that, although the city’s Rent Stabilization Law imposes punitive damages when a landlord’s violation is willful and New York State law prohibits a claim for penalties to be brought as a class action, these cases may now proceed as class actions because the tenants seek only to recover actual, compensatory overcharges and have waived punitive damages, according to an opinion filed Nov. 24. [Legal Newsline – 12/03/14]
  2. Brooklyn Has the Least Affordable Housing in US: Report Brooklyn is the least affordable housing market in the U.S., according to RealtyTrac data. A Brooklynite would need to spend 98 percent of the median income to afford a home there. The median sales price in the borough hit a record $587,515 in the third quarter this year, according to Miller Samuel data. Nearly 70 percent of Brooklyn residents are renters. Brooklyn saw a 6 percent year-over-year climb to $2,858 in median rent, Miller Samuel data showed. [The Real Deal – 12/04/14]
  3. Nearly 100 Sites Quietly Being Removed From Landmarks Consideration The Landmarks Preservation Commission plans to remove almost 100 sites and two historic districts from consideration for landmark status without formal public input, despite most being on the agenda for decades, officials say. It’s a move preservationists fear clears the path for the possible destruction of dozens of architecturally, culturally and historically significant buildings in neighborhoods across the five boroughs because it removes the preliminary protection that they were afforded while under consideration. Among them are the iconic Pepsi sign in Long Island City, Union Square Park, the Bergdorf Goodman building in Manhattan and the more-than century-old Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. [DNAinfo – 12/01/14]
  4. Sunset Park Library Redevelopment Plan Includes Less Affordable Housing A modified plan to redevelop Sunset Park’s public library will include fewer affordable housing units to accommodate a larger library space due to residents’ demands, officials announced Monday night. The Brooklyn Public Library’s Sunset Park branch — one of the busiest in the borough — would be rebuilt and expanded to 20,000 square feet with 49 affordable housing units on top of it, according to the proposal. [DNAinfo – 12/02/14]
  5. City to Nurture Crop of Minority Developers The New York City development world has never been known for its diversity. That’s why the city announced Tuesday it is looking for firms to tackle a new development pipeline specifically set aside for minority- and women-owned businesses.’Our goal is to leverage the dollars we spend to lift up working families as we build and renew the next generation of affordable housing,’ Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen said in a statement. [Crain’s NY Business – 12/02/14]
  6. EDC Chief: Seaport Alternative is ‘Red Herring’ As Manhattan Councilwoman Margaret Chin and Borough President Gale Brewer continue to object to a proposed tower that would fund $305 million worth of improvements to the South Street Seaport area, city Economic Development Corp. President Kyle Kimball dismissed the idea of relocating the building, as opponents suggest. [Crain’s NY Business – 12/04/14]
  7. MTOPP Calls for Public Meetings, Zoning Study, New Resolution Despite being accused of outrageous tactics, Prospect Lefferts Gardens community group MTOPP, or The Movement to Protect the People, has been largely successful in its efforts so far. Now that the group has succeeded in rescinding Community Board 9′s request for a zoning study, as we reported last week, it is calling for a new zoning study of the area as well as a series of public meetings to come up with a new resolution to send to City Planning asking for the zoning study. [Brownstoner – 12/01/14]
  8. Joint Venture Opens Affordable Housing in Harlem A joint venture between The Community Preservation Corporation Inc. (CPC), the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, New York City Housing Development Corporation, New York City Retirement Systems, Bethany II HDFC and Bethany Baptist Church has opened Bethany Place, 23 renovated apartment units in Harlem, to go to Sandy-impacted and rent-burdened families. [Multihousing News – 12/02/14]
  9. U.S. Says Legislation Needed to End Stewardship of Mortgage Firms The Obama administration said on Thursday it would be irresponsible to end government stewardship of the country’s biggest mortgage finance firms without legislation from Congress. The comments from a senior Treasury Department official knocked down speculation the administration could eventually release housing finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from conservatorship should lawmakers fail to overhaul housing finance rules. [Reuters – 12/04/14]
  10. NYC’s Anti-Airbnb Coalition Heads West Share Better, the coalition of unionized hotel workers, elected officials and housing advocates that wants to restrict room-sharing startup Airbnb in New York, is making moves on the San Francisco-based tech company’s home turf. The group plans to launch a West Coast coalition called Share Better SF. The impetus was a recent vote by the San Francisco city government to legalize Airbnb, which the city’s mayor signed into law. California housing advocates reached out to their East Coast peers about organizing more cohesive opposition to the company, which has been accused of reducing the supply of affordable housing. [Crain’s NY Business – 12/04/14]
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