A new set of bills being prepared by the New York City Council aims to make life a little easier for landlords who are willing to trust the city to subsidize some of their tenants’ rents. “Resistance to accepting subsidy programs is just as often a reaction to the city’s incompetence rather than a reaction to the program itself,” said Councilman Ritchie Torres of the Bronx, one of the bills' sponsors. He is hoping to change that with the introduction of legislation that would, among other things, allow the city to offer direct deposit to landlords instead of sending them checks. It will hopefully ensure that they are paid on time.
Crain’s New York has more.
The Rent Guidelines Board is scheduled to hold a preliminary vote Tuesday night at 7 pm. Though this vote will not have any impact on the final vote that will be conducted in June after several public hearings to be held over the course of coming weeks, it will serve as an indication as to how the board may eventually vote.
The RGB has voted to freeze rents for stabilized apartments on one-year leases for the past two years. Tenant advocacy groups hope for yet another freeze. Landlords hope for an increase. The Rent Stabilization Association, an advocacy group made up of 25,000 property owners, is pushing for a 4 percent increase for one-year leases and an 8 … read more
A new lawsuit in federal court alleges that the city’s way of taxing property owners is systematically unfair. The action, which has been filed by a coalition of landlords, homeowners and civil rights groups calling itself Tax Equity Now NY, filed a class-action lawsuit that claims that wealthy neighborhoods pay less in property taxes than they should and that lower income and working class parts of the city pay too much. This, they believe, qualifies as a form of discrimination.
One would think that a property's value is assessed by examining the sale prices and appraisals of similar properties. However, it does not always work that way. For example, Williamsburg and … read more
There has been a lot of news about the booming solar industry recently. A Crain's New York article published yesterday reported that U.S. solar installations nearly doubled between 2015 and 2016. One of the reasons is because of the decline in the price of solar panels. Their cost has fallen 60 percent over the course of the past ten years.
What may come as a surprise is that the solar boom is not relegated to southwestern states that see the largest amount of sun in the nation. New York State generates the tenth most solar energy in the country, and New York City is ranked seventh for total installed panels. More than 8,100 people in the Empire State … read more
The New York City Council is considering several bills that would enhance tenant protections. While some of these are well intentioned and seek to put an end to abuses by unscrupulous landlords, even Mayor Bill de Blasio feels that a few of them may go too far and could create more problems than they solve.
The most controversial of the bills, Intro. 1523, was introduced by Council Member Helen Rosenthal, and was heard for the first time on Wednesday. If passed into law, it would create an Office of the Tenant Advocate. This office would oversee site safety plans and ensure that tenants receive all the necessary protections they are guaranteed under the law. According … read more
Though the Rent Guidelines Board will not make their final decision about rent adjustments until almost two months from now, on June 27, they have held some public meetings and invited the testimony of advocates for both tenants and landlords. Some may believe that such events are just for show and that the RGB has already made their decision. This view is particularly common among those who believe that the RGB is a political tool that is wielded by Mayor Bill de Blasio to increase his popularity among pro-tenant groups. After all, the mayor has repeatedly claimed to hold more than just a little sway over this independent body.
While the cynical approach … read more
About 80 percent of all garbage that gets processed in New York City travels through transfer stations based in North Brooklyn, the South Bronx, and southern Queens. This means that these neighborhoods deal with a disproportionate amount of pollution from sanitation trucks owned by the city and private contractors. To combat this issue, a 20-year Solid Waste Management Plan was initiated over a decade ago that was meant to shift the way in which garbage is transported from road-based to rail- and barge-based, and would take the burden of handling the garbage off of just three communities by spreading the responsibility.
An agreement this week was reached by the … read more
As a landlord, you are expected to provide certain services to your tenants. At the most basic level, tenants' apartments need to habitable, they need to be safe, and they need to secure. In most cases, it's pretty obvious what you must provide to be in compliance with the law. There needs to be a lock on the door to the building; there needs to be carbon monoxide and smoke detectors in units; infestations of vermin need to be eliminated; and so on.
Amenities, however, are a more complicated business. In most cases, a tenant cannot demand an amenity without an increase in rent. Conversely, a landlord cannot … read more
Though the U.S. office market is becoming more tenant-friendly, the first quarter of 2017 has not been all that unkind to New York City commercial landlords. Rents in Midtown Manhattan are now going for $80.45 per square foot annually, compared with $81.16 at the end of the first quarter last year. The vacancy rate, meanwhile, is up 0.3 percent from a year ago, and now stands at 11.6 percent.
Though the employment market is doing well, there are two factors that may be hurting commercial landlords. The first is that employers are learning to use space more efficiently. The second, which is likely to have a far greater impact on landlords, is that many positions can … read more
In an op-ed for the New York Daily News, Errol Lewis proposes an innovative way to help brick-and-mortar stores by leveling the playing field on which they compete with online retailers. As the law stands now, consumers are required to keep track of all out-of-state online purchases, and to pay taxes on them at the end of the tax year (via form ST-140). Of course, no one does this, which gives online retailers the ability to undercut physical retailers and to sell their items essentially tax-free. On top of hurting mom-and-pop stores that are struggling to survive in the city, it also reduces the amount of taxes collected by the state, which can be especially painful … read more
Penthouse additions for commercial buildings are becoming popular with New York City landlords. Glass-walled spaces atop older buildings provide renters with a panoramic view of the city, outdoor space, and tons of light, while maximizing the utility of spaces that would otherwise produce no income. Some of these new spaces are renting for as much as $90 per square foot, Mitchell Konsker of the real-estate-services firm JLL told the Wall Street Journal.
The Wall Street Journal has more.
New York City's roadways are in rough shape. Less than 69 percent of the city's streets are in good condition, and the trajectory suggests that this number is not … read more
A group of Midtown East residents led by The East River 50s Alliance has submitted a rezoning proposal to limit the height of buildings around the 700-foot tower that is planned to go up at 3 Sutton Place. The plan proposes that all buildings between East 51st and 59th streets and between First Avenue and Sutton Place be between 210 and 260 feet. Furthermore, they would like all new residential developments to include at least 20 percent affordable housing and any commercial development to be limited to “community uses” like medical offices or daycare centers.
While this may seem like a progressive proposal, a representative for Gamma Real Estate, the firm developing … read more
Will you be responsible for your mother's credit card bills? What about your grandfather's taxes? Find out!
In an opinion piece published in the Commercial Observer, David G. Greenfield makes the case for the resurrection of 421, which is now being called Affordable New York, from a more progressive angle. The Democratic City Councilman for the 44th district—which includes parts of Midwood, Borough park, Ocean Parkway, and Bensonhurst—claims that the program will be beneficial to developers, as well as low-income New Yorkers.
Councilman Greenfield believes that the year-old policy of Mandatory Inclusionary Housing [MIH] was designed under the pretext that a state- or city-sponsored fiscal incentive would be in place. Without it, developers lack the … read more
The rental market across New York City is increasingly tenant-friendly. Though rent prices are remaining stable, concessions are becoming far more common, and the number of available apartments in even some of the five boroughs’ most fashionable neighborhoods is rising. Eventually, you may feel as though you’ve been confronted with a choice: either allow a tenant to move in who may have a fair credit score and income that is lower than you’d want or let the unit remain vacant.
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