NEARLY A QUARTER OF UWS RENT-STABILIZED APARTMENTS HAVE DISAPPEARED SINCE 2007

uws

By Sasha Pezenik

In just seven years, the Upper West Side has lost nearly a quarter of its rent-stabilized apartments, and there’s little doubt the trend will continue: landlords have gotten increasingly aggressive in their attempts to get people out of stabilized units so they can charge market rates, tenant advocates say.

The Upper West Side has one of the highest concentrations of rent-regulated units in the city, although those numbers have been dropping at a rapid rate. Between 2007 and 2014, the City Council district that includes the Upper West Side lost 7,642 rent-stabilized apartments, or 23%, according to analyses by data researchers John Krauss and Ben Wellington. To figure out when a property had been removed from rent-stabilization rolls, Krauss examined property tax records; landlords pay a mandatory $10 fee to register stabilized units. Wellington broke down the data by council district, and found the UWS had the third-highest rate of turnover. City Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal’s office confirmed the figures. He created the map below showing how many units have been lost from each building in the city.

There are still about 25,000 rent-stabilized apartments in the neighborhood.

City Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal is dealing with an onslaught of complaints about landlord harassment. Housing staffers in her office say they receive 25 to 30 phone calls and emails a day reporting instances of landlord harassment; they have also received over 3,300 walk-ins since January 2014. Reports are often made on behalf of those too beleaguered to make the call themselves. Frequently, whistleblowers request anonymity, fearing retaliation.

Landlords have strong incentives to try to remove stabilized tenants – once the rent on an apartment rises above $2,500, landlords can charge market rates to the next tenant – well over $3,000 for a two-bedroom.

Rosenthal’s staff says landlords have gotten increasingly aggressive, progressing from buyout offers to lawsuits. “Ninety percent of tenants in housing court do not have an advocate,” says Anna Gago, Director of Housing at Helen Rosenthal’s office. “Ninety percent of landlords do.”

Many buildings now sport surveillance cameras in each floor’s vestibule, monitoring all tenants and guests. Those cameras can help landlords build cases against tenants, but they don’t tell the whole story, Gago argues.

She described one recent case of an elderly woman taken to court because of high foot traffic and multiple bag exchanges around her apartment: her landlord accused her of dealing drugs. “She was a disabled senior. The bag exchanges were Meals on Wheels.”

Gago detailed other tactics she’s seen:

The City Council recently passed a set of bills that limit the manner and frequency with which landlords can offer buyouts; the council claims landlords have become “abusive and intimidating” in their attempts to coax tenants to leave.

Photo by Sarah Ackerman.

NEWS, REAL ESTATE | 128 comments | permalink
    1. Nathan says:

      Not enough.

      • Nathan says:

        Unless, of course, you think it’s fair that your neighbor pays a thousand dollars or more for the same apartment as you just because you got there first.

        • Cato says:

          So you think that fairness requires that everyone in comparable space pays exactly the same rate for it?

          Then would you agree that fairness requires that everyone working the same eight-hour day should be paid exactly the same rate?

          Begins to sound kind of like an economic system that I suspect is not in keeping with your own, doesn’t it?

          • Nathan says:

            No, I expect a free market where people are free to agree (or not) on prices. It’s not fair that the neighbor not only doesn’t receive the same subsidized rent, but also that he PAYS that subsidy through higher rent.

            • S. Louie says:

              Free market only works when the consumer is offering the lowest price…not when the “Monopoly” guy is offering the highest rent.

              Got Monopoly? Yeah…you know WHY that game was designed? It was over 100 years ago to teach children what happens when one person gets all the money! It’s fundamental economics. NO Society EVERY survives a monopolizd economy. It Never has in the history of man! Eventually..the people take the money back.

          • anon says:

            You should pay the market rate for the space you live in and you should earn your market worth. If my male colleague earned more than I did for exactly the same work (same hours/worth/output etc.) then I’d be upset but if he’s willing to work longer hours and produce more for the company than I’d urge him to negotiate for a higher rate.
            Tampering with the market rarely works and generally produces conditions that feature ever-worsening equality as ever more machinations are put into place to temper the effects of the tampering. It also incentivizes corruption/cheating, aggression and resentment.

        • CS says:

          Nathan – Respectfully, a different point of view…

          I for one am completely fine with the fact that my husband and I paid more for our coop than others before us. Similarly, per my comment below, I believe rent regulation/stabilization is a good thing and I certainly don’t begrudge anyone in such housing. Besides, most people in rent stabilized units have been there for years, paying taxes for years.

          As for subsidies, I’d note that luxury buildings such as One57, the “billionaire” building, has been subsidized by us taxpayers. (We taxpayers also “subsidized” the new World Trade Center building, Yankee Stadium and countless other corporate subsidies.)

          I am happy to support rent stabilized housing and middle class community. On the other hand, I am not happy about subsidizing super luxury buildings such as One57.

        • Christina says:

          If it means someone got there first like 20, 30, 40 years ago!? Yeah, it’s fair. The person who is paying $1000.00 more for the same apartment probably moved in, in the last 3, 5 10 years ago when decontrol was on the rise. That’s life!

    2. Bruce Bernstein says:

      I’m continually amazed by the short sightedness of some of my fellow commenters. Unless they are landlords, their comments make no sense… especially if they are concerned with housing affordability/

      of course rent stabilization is not a “perfect” system. but isn’t it obvious that the vast decrease in rent stabilized apartments throughout the city has helped accelerate the skyrocketing rents?

      back when MOST OF the apartments were rent stabilized, there will still discrepancies — person A had a better or worse deal than person B — but they were much more limited. More importantly, middle class people could afford to live on the Upper West Side.

      • zeus says:

        Hey Bruce,
        Surprise!!!
        For once I could not agree with you more.
        On this issue – we are soul brothers.
        Cheers

      • Nathan says:

        Econ 101, Bruce. Price controls create artificial shortages. The reason for sky-high prices is because of rent regulations.

        Yeah, if most apartments were rent-regulated they’d mostly be affordable. And there would be an even greater shortage of them.

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          the housing market in NYC does not follow what you call “Economics 101”. supply simply cannot expand with demand… unless you want to give up on zoning and go back to the old tenement style on the Lower East Side, one building on top of another. also, there are subsidies all over the place.

          As I’ve pointed out in the past, the largest housing subsidies go to owners of $1 million + apartments with large mortgages. it’s called the mortgage interest deduction. if you are really interested in “economics 101” in the housing market, you would get rid of that.

          • Nathan says:

            I do advocate for the abolition of the mortgage interest deduction. I’m a renter so it’s in my self interest, of course, but it fits with my ideology that the government shouldn’t be meddling in the market.

            And Econ 101 does apply: Prices should just be higher for many people and they should make their own decisions on whether to stay or go based on what they can afford and what living in Manhattan is worth to them.

            It’s worth a lot to me and I pay dearly for it. (Also, the much higher taxes in the city compared to, say, New Jersey.)

          • Sillyuwser says:

            Bruce that would be true if the mortgage interest deduction wasn’t capped on mortgages after $1m. Over that you don’t get it

        • kitty cat says:

          YUP – re: Econ 101 – all students should be required to take Economics, “the study of the allocation of scarce resources”….otherwise they are just either speaking from ignorance or in this case, socialist ideology.

      • kitty cat says:

        The so-called sky-rocketing rates just reflects a market seeking equilibrium – rent control just masks underlying supply & demand.

        • dannyboy says:

          The so-called sky-rocketing rates just reflects a market seeking GREED and AVARICE. Nice social order?

    3. Bruce Bernstein says:

      this excellent article shows the appalling epidemic of landlord harassment of tenants on the Upper West Side. Helen Rosenthal’s office alone reports 20-30 cases A DAY.

      Many if not most of these cases of harassment are against senior citizens.

      I urge the West Side Rag to cover this issue, including individual cases, with the same energy you have covered crime in the area. In terms of volume and the vast effect, this is a much more serious issue.

      • Harassment cases against landlords are hard to prove and even harder to win. Many tenants offered a buyout would not consider it harassment. These offers are frequently made to the tenant while waiting for a landlord tenant case to be heard by a judge. Attornies for landlords do not want to take the time to have a case heard in front of a judge and make any effort to clear their case load.

    4. Off Duty says:

      Wanna live near Zabars? Try BUYING your apartment, like most of us have had to do.
      BTW- That is a great picture taken from 78th Street near Amsterdam. I can see my building.

      • Cato says:

        We’re not talking about someone trying to move into the neighborhood. No one can acquire a rent-stabilized apartment, so of course the preferential method of finding a home here is to buy.

        What we’re talking about are people who have lived in their apartments for 30, 40, 50 or more years, raised a family there, returned there from their elderly spouses’ funerals. They have lived there since the middle class was not just allowed to live here, but actually accepted as the foundation of the community. That’s really not all that long ago.

        Now, the wealthy have targeted the Upper West Side as a place they want to live — so every available space needs to be vacated to make way for them. And of course the first spaces landlords want to vacate are those bringing them the fewest dollars: tenants still living under Rent Stabilization. Conveniently, many of those tenants are also the most vulnerable – elderly, often frail, not well positioned (financially, emotionally, even physiologically) to fight the bitter, once-in-a-long-lifetime fight needed to resist landlords for whom those fights are simply part of the daily tool kit.

        It used to be possible for normal middle-class people to live near Zabars, as you put it. (I rented an apartment around the corner for many years before, yes, buying into a nearby co-op to get more space.) But, you’re right, no more. Is it morally right to put out onto the street people who have been fortunate to live long lives in the area so that wealthy newcomers can take over the space?

        I don’t think so. And I don’t think it’s right to dismiss concerns over people’s being put out of their long-time homes by telling them just to buy another home like you did.

        • Off Duty says:

          @ Cato – While you make valid points, you seem to be answering to comments NOT made in my comment. As I am a life-long UWS-er, I nevertheless saw the writing on the wall back in the 70’s when apartment conversions began in earnest. Now that I am well into my “golden years”, I look back and realize that life has been an endless series of calculated risks and that the successful decisions tended to be based on rational, fiscally conservative thinking.
          Sad as it is, many in my generation, growing up and aging on the UWS, are now finding out the costs and consequences of their libertine and irresponsible ways.
          Do I want to see them tossed out onto the street? Of course not…..BUT I also do not want to be guilt tripped into subsidizing the bad decisions of others.

          • dannyboy says:

            What were “their libertine and irresponsible ways”?

            Living?

            • Off Duty says:

              @dannyboy – Son, if you have to ask that question, I suggest that you take a course in economics.

            • dannyboy says:

              @off duty

              I have an MBA in Finance from CBS and undergrad Math. 30 years Wall Street. I just know to question the Propoganda economists spew. They are the Handmaidens. The DISMAL SCIENCE.

              P.S. I am not your “son”. Try ‘Sir’ if you want to be respectful.

            • Off Duty says:

              @ dannyboy…..I served TWO tours in Vietnam. Among my many decorations include two Purple Hearts. I then served with distinction in a certain law-enforcement agency for 32 years, ending up one of the most decorated agents ever.,,,in that certain agency.
              I bled for this country when others ran to Europe or Canada or managed to 4F themselves.
              I keep the company of bankers, “powerhouse” lawyers and politicos who would serve as a resume others only dream of.
              CBS? Cardozo? Mozol Tov. Then you should know better. And if you don’t….demand a refund.

              You remain “son”.

            • dannyboy says:

              “CBS? Cardozo? Mozol Tov. Then you should know better. And if you don’t….demand a refund.”
              You remain “son”. – Off Duty

              wrong again! When did CBS become Cardoza?

              I did learn that Human Rights trump Property Rights. That’s another reason I’m not your son.

            • Off Duty says:

              OK….I apologize. I just needed to vent a bit.
              You are NOT my son.

            • dannyboy says:

              ok

        • former UWS parent says:

          I could not agree more that the elderly who have lived in their apartments and raised their families back in the day when no one wanted to live on the UWS need to stay put. It’s otherwise inhumane. Without these stable families the UWS would not have survived. HOWEVER, I have countless examples of friends, people in our old buildings etc who are FRAUDULENTLY living in rent controlled and rent stabilized apartments by lying to the IRS, landlords and their neighbors, shielding their income, etc. to our disadvantage. Many would pull away on summer Fridays in their BMW’s headed to their country homes while we had to swelter away in our $4000 apartment. They would actually brag about how they were getting away with it, in many cases earning way more than us. OR not having to work at all simply because they “inherited” their parents or grandparents apts. I know of a family with TWO huge classic 7 apartments on UWS in a prime location near 88th and Bdwy where one of the residents sons stands to “inherit” one of the properties while he’s earning over $189K at a prestigious NYC law firm. And tuition paid all through college and law school as the family claimed little income (and not the case at all, I know first hand).
          Can you tell me how that’s fair and equitable as new families who cannot afford to buy are shut out from even renting at this point, while MANY of these people game the system and think it’s hilarious. I get that a big part of the problem is in Albany – why can’t they change the rules so if you own a car, property, country house, etc you have to GIVE UP your rent controlled/ stabilized apt. as obviously you don’t need the benefit?? And audit the finances of these liars and cheaters? Give it to someone who ACTUALLY needs it. We never owned a car, property, country home the entire 30 plus ears we lived on UWS and we worked our a—- off for years!! Let’s end the entitlement now.

          • dannyboy says:

            Means Testing for housing. Very anti-American.

            • Independent says:

              More “anti-American” than Medicaid, SNAP (formerly known as food stamps), Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), etc.?

              Qualification for all of these is limited to those with incomes below a certain level.

              Granted, rent-regulation is not a subsidy, at least not in the way that those other programs are. Nonetheless, I fail to see what is wrong, much less “anti-American” (!), with means-testing for either. If a person can afford to pay the “market”*-rate for an apartment, by what rationale should he be granted the right to pay not merely less but, as is more often than not the case here, many-times less?

              *”Market” in quotes because to characterize the real-estate market in a place such as New York City as “free” or “natural” is utterly preposterous. Here, the ordinary working stiff juggling two or even three jobs just to scrape-by must compete with the wealthiest people in the world for extremely limited space. The latter including not only investors who purchase properties that remain vacant, but also the likes of British royalty, Arab oil sheikhs, third-world despots, assorted and sundry robber baron and “bankster” types and deified-celebrities (often cultural termites) who maintain properties here that can be used as little as a few days a year, if even that.

            • dannyboy says:

              @Independent
              RS provides the stability and predictability to stay in one place to work and raise a family. Why are you so focused on MONEY, MONEY, MONEY?

          • Independent says:

            This post, by “former UWS parent”, is perhaps the most reasonable one that I have read in this thread thus far.

    5. Gigi says:

      I hear you. I’m just getting hit with an MCI rent increase order. I feel like little by little we’re being pushed out of our seat. NYC, the UWS soon will not be the same.

    6. H says:

      This is one of those issues that divides people and makes one group resent or even hate the next group when the real culprits are greedy landlords, many of whom purchased buildings for prices which didn’t make economic sense even if they could charge “market” rates. Critics of RS will point to the person paying $75 a month and be like, “see, that is what is wrong with America and why should I pay $2,800”? Well, you shouldn’t, so don’t. But you do. And many others do. Making that the market people will pay. But if you are the one paying it than why are you complaining or resenting the person paying a RS price? Even if RS was abolished tomorrow, does anyone think prices would drop for those already paying market rates? Keep dreaming! So basically it comes down to jealousy akin to “if I can’t play I’m taking my ball home”! The real resentment should be aimed at the landlords/developers, etc., not at the person in apartment 5B. Now are there abuses? I”m positive there are. And those should be remedied using the process in place (or a better process) to address those situations. But if we want to go down the road of getting rid of RS than why stop there? Let’s go after the developers that received tax breaks to build and have not fulfilled contractual obligations to go along with those tax breaks…and anyone else getting benefits.

      • kitty cat says:

        Efficient markets work on supply and demand – what you state does not make sense. Rational people don’t make decisions on ‘feelings’ and Landlords bought and invest for investment purchases not to run charities.

        • H says:

          I actually do know how efficient markets work (or the theory of it)…the problem is this issue does not take in other variables that come in to play with rent stabilization primarily on the UWS…I’m not against reforming or abolishing rent controls altogether and I’ll sit back and watch everyone still complain about the even higher rents they continue to pay because the open market forces make them to pay it. Who will they blame when that happens? Won’t have granny in apt. 11C who is spending her Social Security check to cover rent and food and medical! She should just move right? Or die? Go away so some sheep can overpay for an apartment. Sad and a lot of the people posting on here are sad…but are usually the ones whining when things don’t go their way. Life is subjective! Be careful people how you view things and act cause you may be that granny one day.

          • Woody says:

            What’s sad (and inefficient) is that Granny lives by herself in a 2-3 bedroom rent-stabilized apartment after her kids have grown up & moved out and she became a widow.

            Of course it seems harsh that she should be uprooted but there should be some disincentive for her to retain such an apartment while younger families can’t find affordable apartments that enable them to remain in the city and raise children.

            • H says:

              Ah so instead of rent control proponents vs. rent control opponents arguing economic theories, etc…let’s put granny against the young family of four? Fight to the death and the winner takes the apt! This all goes back to my original post of this topic making two groups of people fight each other over something that has to do with greed on the part of landlords and nothing more. You can point to price equilibrium and economic theories but those are all theories that are often proven wrong. The problem is 1 million people that benefit from some form of rent control can’t afford to test your theories out. Prices will not go down if all controls were to lapse. I’m sure not all of the opponents in here are that obtuse to believe that so it brings the next logical reason and that is one of jealousy or hatred of the thought someone is getting a benefit and others are not.

        • dannyboy says:

          Real people have feelings. Efficient Market Theory is Voodoo doc

    7. chris says:

      There are plenty of working class folks in these apartments. Nurses and others like them that could not afford market rate rents like the Bankers and Lawyers whom live in my area of west 63rd street. It amazes me how such a liberal city hates the working class folks. Makes me think you are all Republican’s and are going to vote for Trump. Maybe we can build a wall around the city and only let the high 6 figure folks in.

      • 2 handicap says:

        A low six-figure income doesn’t get you very far in this city. My wife and I are in our mid 30s and both work very hard to maintain a nice lifestyle. We went to college, we started out in entry level positions and began working our way up the proverbial corporate ladder. We have been renting in our UWS building for three years and are perfectly fine paying what we pay knowing full well there are people in our building that probably pay a fraction of what we pay. We are fortunate and grateful.

        We spend money in restaurants, bars and shops that most of the WSR posters think are too expensive for the neighborhood. Why?

        Because those are the businesses in my neighborhood and I like them there. I don’t want to see them close and another chain take their place.

        The clock is not going to turn itself back and there is nothing that can be done to prevent change. Embrace the community you have around you and quit whining about everything.

      • Sean says:

        Nursing is a profession. A bus driver is working class.

        • Chris says:

          And nurses make under 100k that is working class in NYC

          • Independent says:

            And nurses make under 100k that is working class in NYC

            While thugs who sing lyrics that boast of raping “bitches” [sic] and “hoes” [sic] and murdering cops, make millions.

            Ah, the “free market”. Such a great arbiter of value and worth, isn’t it?

        • S. Louie says:

          I would say that a bus drive has a huge responsibility in that he may have 40 lives he’s responsible for every 30 min…maybe even more than what a nurse deals with a day.

          So not sure what you would consider a professional by dollar amount. A professional is someone who is well groomed and practiced..regardless of their title..and if you have to pay a rent or mortgage….then YOU ARE the WORKING CLASS!!!

      • Independent says:

        Makes me think you are all Republican’s [sic] and are going to vote for Trump.

        Actually, when it comes to immigration at least, it is Donald Trump who has been speaking for the interests of the American worker. Trump is the only candidate from either party who (in this campaign, at least) has consistently, unambiguously and unequivocally opposed the ethnomasochist, utterly suicidal open-borders status quo.

        (The question of whether Trump is sincere and could be trusted, were he elected, to practice what he has been preaching, is another matter.)

        • Christina says:

          Actually Independent…better education and an aging population has resulted in a decrease in the number of Americans willing or available to take low-paying jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, close to 26 million foreign born people, or 17% of the country’s labor force, worked in the United States in 2014. These workers are more likely to be employed by the service industry, while American born workers are more likely to hold jobs in management, professional, sales and office occupations. To fill the gap of low-skilled American workers, employers will likely hire immigrant workers. One of the consequences, unfortunately, is that it is easier for unscrupulous employers to exploit this labor force and pay immigrants less, not provide benefits and ignore worker safety laws. On an economic level, Americans benefit from relatively low prices on food and other goods produced by undocumented immigrant labor.

          • Independent says:

            Yes, Christina, those are the talking points of the open-borders lobby (an unholy alliance of big business, cultural Marxists and others with various self-interests that are detrimental to the nation and its average citizen). The propaganda does not withstand scrutiny, however and has been refuted and discredited. A good place to start might be the web site of the Center for Immigration Studies, “an independent, non-partisan, non-profit, research organization” ( http://cis.org/About ). The page linked here, specifically, contains many links to articles that directly address and refute claims such as the ones that you have repeated in your post.

            (Note that I am not accusing you, personally, of being knowingly deceptive or having less-than-honorable intentions. As in any number of other areas, I realize that many people are honestly misinformed and misled by insidious propaganda.)

            • Christina says:

              Actually I hear that “The Center For Immigration Studies” have a biased angle. Bottom line is… you can’t believe everything you read online. And everyone’s got something to prove no matter how independent, non-partisan, non-profit, research of an organization they say they are. We all differ in opinions and there’s no clear cut answers!

    8. Old Judge says:

      The issue is affordability vs. availability. If a small number of privileged incumbents are favored, they benefit but newcomers are frozen out and there is a disincentive to building new units. If market rates prevail, the the poor and some of elderly will be forced to move to housing consistent with their ability to pay.

      Most basically, rent control/stabilization is a tax on property owners to pay for a politically valuable subsidy to politically favored incumbent tenants. It is economic nonsense but political gold.

    9. The loss of rent stabilized units is a symptom of a system that is slowly becoming extinct. There are no new mega proposals to create rental housing specifically designed for the middle class. No jobs are being created for low income individuals to become middle class. The middle class has no say in how public land is used create housing for their use. Anti development and landmarking initiatives have not and will not fix this dam full of holes.

    10. Thomas Lombardi says:

      It’s great to see the plight of tenants trying to sustain their homes. It would be really helpful if there were jobs investigating the abuses endured.

      The monitoring of housing advocates on just one rogue mole or employee can be bought off at MFY or even GOLES if the bribe is profitable enough. Its hard to resist a giant bribe of 2o,000 or more.

      The use of seriously sneaky methods and crime to get rid of tenant activists. Esp vulnerable are seniors, the disabled and their families.

      If the local police are not given jurisdiction for housing crimes than the unscupulous landlords will takes that as an ok to bribe.

      The crime of causing homelessness and trauma is just a bad as taking a bullet in the ass!

    11. Mike says:

      And this is problem…why?

      • dannyboy says:

        Landlords contract private detectives to surreptitiously track the daily habits of targeted tenants.

        Tenants have complained that their mail has sometimes gone missing, only to show up later as evidence in court cases. They suspect some tampering from landlords, who hold mailbox keys.

        If a landlord wants to oust someone, he also may ‘forget’ to deposit rent checks, then file a Non-Payment suit against the resident. For this reason, Gago recommends direct deposit for rent payments, as it cuts out middlemen and streamlines the process.

        there’s more in the article but these should be convincing.

    12. Ridiculous says:

      Just FYI
      For all u rs and rc tenants that have lived here since the 60s and 70s”………….
      How are ur summer homes and cars??
      Maybe not all of you but I know a few that live large outside the city.
      How bout all your subletees???
      How bout the fact that you don’t work????
      You are opportunists who pass on the same work ethic to your children. You should be ashamed.
      These apts are for people trying to get on their feet.
      You should have worked hard and saved your money so you can move on and let the next person who really needs low cost housing move in. I’m all for rs apartments but please…. For 50 years??? Passing it down to the family???
      Give others a chance. Stop blaming landlords!!!

    13. kitty cat says:

      Free Markets = Efficient Markets = Happy Markets

    14. Christina says:

      Very, Very sad!!! We need Rent Stabilized apts. It’s the only way middle class people can afford rent! It’s a very sad state of affairs for sure. 2 class neighborhood before long. Rich and poor! That’s it! 🙁

    15. CS says:

      Unbelievable and horrible. (Cato’s comments are spot on)

      I grew up on the Upper West Side and until recently it was a middle class neighborhood.
      In contrast, for decades, the East Side was the traditional neighborhood of wealth.

      Few would have predicted the “expansion” of wealth or “super gentrification” throughout middle class NYC neighborhoods such as the UWS or low income areas such as Williamburg etc.

      My family is fortunate to be in a very nice coop – but we have older relatives and friends in rent stabilized apartments who are increasingly fearful about losing their homes to luxury real estate forces.

      I would also note that in my building, the newer residents are younger and much wealthier. I am generalizing here, but in truth it was the older middle class residents – professors, musicians, teachers etc – who made our building feel like a community. IMO the newer and more affluent residents – finance, media etc – seem quite a bit more entitled, and far less neighborly.

      Very sad to see the wealth tsunami that has destroyed NYC’s middle class neighborhoods

    16. Ridiculous says:

      Funny how you erased my comment. Don’t want to hear the truth? Ask the opportunists who are coveting all the rs apartments why they ruined it for the deserving ones. Then maybe it would be a fair system. Let me ask the tax assessor to keep my taxes 0 increase.. And the water to keep it a 0 increase. And you wonder why buildings are falling into dis repair………. Welcome to the real world

    17. KT says:

      I don’t care to get in the weeds but I live in a building with both rent stabilized and market tenants. You do get what you pay for. The decontrolled, expensive apartments have quality fixtures, cabinets, dish washers, clothes washers, etc. In over 20 years I have hand washed every dish, paid to have laundry done, had my apt painted twice, and live without a garbage disposal. And you know what, that is the level of living I have come to expect. Everyone needs to figure out what they can afford.

      • Christine E says:

        You sound quite rational to me. IMO RS and subsidized renters should not be complaining that they don’t have dishwashers, un unit laundry, gym access, the latest of anything. Just the basics – functional but not fancy. Be greatful to have a decent place to live at a below market rate.

    18. 9d8b7988045e4953a882 says:

      Good. I would do away with rent stabilization completely. Able bodied/minded individuals are responsible for finding housing that they can afford. I work my tail off paying market-rate rent and don’t have a lot money left over. It is very frustrating to see stabilized tenants paying much less for a larger space.

      • H says:

        And you would pay less or more if RC or RS were gone?

        • Christine E says:

          Less, obviously. Economics supply and demand.

          • H says:

            Yeah you Obviously do not live in the real world and are too butt hurt that people pay less than you. In theory and using economic models you may be right! In reality you are wrong. Landlords would simply rather not rent out an apt so prices at a certain level. But I’m sure your little economics theory on housing doesn’t take that into consideration. I guarantee anyone paying “market rent” today would continue to pay more and more with each new lease even if all rent controls were abolished! But I’m game to abolish them. But as I mentioned lets get rid of ALL subsidies and tax breaks. My spidey sense tells me most developers or landlords don’t want that though.

            • HR says:

              You don’t know what will happen if you abolish RS & RC unless you try. Initially yes prices would rise but the rate of rent increase may slow in the near term. You just can be sure.

          • 9d8b7988045e4953a882 says:

            If rent stabilization were abolished, rents would be lower due to increased supply. The below-market stabilized units are essentially off the market. As a tenant, I am legally prevented from bidding higher for those units. So they are actually anti-tenant.

            • H says:

              Once again! In theory you are correct. In reality we both know that won’t happen. Don’t be so naive! Also, there are price floors already in place by landlords. Since they make a killing by charging the likes of you $3500 a month for a 1BR for so long they now can afford to sit on an apt as opposed to renting it for cheaper.

    19. Christina says:

      First of all… To all you Naysayers… Rent Stabilization has been around a long time. And those of us who happened to have been living in the city in the 1970’s, 80’s, 90’s and got an apartment that happened to be rent stabilized (for which there were plenty of), now we have to be punished? Because we happened to be at the right place at the right time? That’s ridiculous! The decontrol started full force in the late 90’s and 2000’s and that is one’s problem if they happened to have gotten an apartment at that time. We shouldn’t pay for the fact that people decided to move to the city when it’s near impossible to get a rent stabilized apt!

      • Nathan says:

        Yes, it’s been around for a long time, and yet somehow the manufactured housing crisis hasn’t been fixed. Obviously rent regulation has failed.

      • Eric says:

        Christina,

        You didn’t get an apartment. You leased an apartment. You do not own it. It is not yours.
        You got a bargain, not a right.

        Like you, I enjoyed a rent stabilized apartment in the 1980s in the West 80s. Loved it. But work took me to another city and when I returned in the 1990s I had to bite my lip and pay market rate.

        You are not being “punished”. You are living in the real world.

        • Christina says:

          @ Eric…Yes I rent but it’s MY HOME! And damned if someone is going to kick me out! A lot of us are not transient. These are our homes. Of course it’s not a right! I never said it was. But yeah, I got lucky I guess! Although back then it was the norm, no luck involved. And I “feel” like I’m being “punished” not that I am. And I know all too well about the “real” world. I used to live a very hard life in this city. Thank goodness life has eased a little bit. Of course you had to bite your lip and pay market rent if you left and came back. But a lot of people didn’t leave at all and shouldn’t have their apt. deregulated!

          • anon says:

            entitled much? Try BUYING an apt if you want a permanent home. That’s what people do in the real world outside of RS/RC NYC if they want to have rights to their residence.

            • Christina says:

              Uh NO! Anon! I’m not entitled at all! Just want to be able to live in a home I’ve had for years! I CAN”T AFFORD to buy! Don’t be smug! I think you’re entitled! Just because you may be able to buy doesn’t mean every one can! Part of me thinks that people who want to abolish rent stabilization are the ones who wish that they had a stabilized apt and are pissed they don’t have one and so if they can’t, no one should! And the last time I looked Rental Tenants Have Rights and should! So please don’t admonish me for wanting to stay in my Home I’ve had for years!

          • Christine E says:

            Sorry,Christina. I too wanted to stay in my home. But I was in a market rate rental and at the end of the lease the owner decided to sell. Or raise the rent by more than I wanted to pay. Or move back in himself. Or whatever. So I moved to another apartment. Several times. It is not the end of the world. This is normal, you should try it. And guess what. Sometimes that means I moved to a smaller apt. Or in a neighborhood that was not my first choice. Or a high walk up when I would have preferred a lower floor. Or whatever. I don’t see why you should be immune from this very real fact of life.

            • Christina says:

              The real fact of life is that I Do have a rent stabilized apt. that I have to sometimes scrape to meet the rent. My 80 year old mother also has a rent stabilized apt. that I grew up in. (who worked her butt off to support us and had a hard time affording the rent even then, after my father died) And rent stabilization is Still in place. That’s the reality. Thank god for it!

    20. Eric says:

      Leasing or owning an apartment is not about morality or fairness but about legality and finance.

      Each of us would like to pay less in rent, maintenance, what-have-you. It’s our right to prefer to pay less for things so we have more money for other things.

      Every landlord would like their property to be as profitable as possible. It’s their right as the owner of their apartment – that’s right, “their apartment” – it is not “your apartment”, you just rent it.

      No tenant would volunteer to pay more so their landlord could make a larger profit, so why would anyone expect a landlord to charitably accept less rent than the market could bear?

      Of course, landlords should not be harassing tenants to get them to vacate their legally-leased apartments. If it can be proven that they are doing so, they should be prosecuted.
      By the same token, tenants who live in rent-stabilized apartments need to observe the law … making it their primary residence, etc.

      And if you are one of the lucky few who live legally under rent stabilization but happen to make enough money to pay more, then we should all salute your good fortune. Everybody loves a bargain and there is nothing unfair about your taking good (if legal) advantage of it. That said, I urge you to put the extra aside so that you can become an owner one day (if not on the UWS then wherever you can afford it). The rules and the marketplace can always change … just because you enjoy a good deal now does not mean you have a right to it always being there.

      • dannyboy says:

        You gave away your hand with: “if not on the UWS then wherever you can afford it”

        • Eric says:

          Dannyboy, we get priced out out of all sorts of things in our lives. When your work situation changes, so does your spending. You eat in and not out. You clip those coupons. Where once you might have taken a traveling vacation you now settle for a stay-at-home vacation. I love living in the city and from the day, just put of college, that I moved from Queens to a not-so-nice block in the West 80s I have tried to grow my nest-egg to hopefully keep me here. But if not, well then I’ll be back in Flushing or Jamaica. Life goes on.

          • dannyboy says:

            So is MONEY the driver of Life? or is LIFE the driver of Money?

            Put People before money and rethink your arguement.

      • Christina says:

        I am one that has a rent stabilized aot. and has had one for years before it became “lucky”. I wish I can afford to buy. I’m just scraping by. Living paycheck to paycheck. I’m not one of the lucky few who have a rent stabilized apartment and can afford to buy or live elsewhere.

      • S. Louie says:

        If you are going to be in a SERVICE Business the WORST thing you can do is treat your clients badly…this is common business sense.

        In the case of LANDLORDS..they are providing a housing service need. While I understand they are trying to make a profit…they are providing a service/need. If all of them want to turn their building into a 5 star hotel instead of providing a service to all, is the WORST thing a service provider could do. What if ALL the restaurants in the city were 5 star…and you were expected to pay top dollar at every meal.

        This is a bad model for a city where housing, food, health, clean air and water, and education are fundamental elements for a stable city and community. This is why we have REGULATIONS of these basic necessities.

        HOUSING, FOOD and HEALTH are the top needs of anyone..so they need to come first. Once you have stability you can then get an EDUCATION. An educated community is a SAFE community. No one wants to live in an area where they are not safe. There is no other argument about these needs! PERIOD!

        • Woody says:

          Your arguments lose all credibility and defy logic when you categorize a landlord as someone providing a service. Developing and owning a real estate project is anything but part of the service industry and you’re way off base. It’s the quintessential ‘bricks-and-mortar’ product.

          Until you are able or want to put yourself into the same predicament as a developer/landlord using his capital and skills to make buildings appear for others to benefit from, you’ll have to rely on them for your needs and pay the price. All you’re capable of doing is writing the check so it’s none of your business whether a landlord wants to maximize his profit. If you don’t like it, move somewhere more affordable. There are plenty of apartments outside the city but you want the convenience of living in the city at someone’s expense. In your imaginary world, why would anyone go into any business if they had to pander to socialists like yourself who constantly whine about others employing their talent and money to make maximum gains.

          • Christina says:

            @ Woody…Everyone’s got a choice. It’s one’s choice to become a landlord and if it’s not profitable then get out of the business and find something else. it’s the same for any other type of business.

    21. Claire says:

      Peoples lives and homes should not be looked at as investments or profit margins. The market rate of apartments in Manhattan are all a mirage and do not reflect any logic or lessons taught in economics 101. These comments reek of classism and envy and do not help the situation any better. Doing away with stabilized leases would not balance the market out and people paying full market prices should be aware that their apartments were probably destabilized illegally and they themselves are entitled to the same stable rents everyone else is. Pitting each other against each other doesn’t do any good and if you all understood what makes neighborhoods diverse and unique are many different classes, cultures and ethnicities living together in harmony. NYC being a luxury city is a very recent development in the 400 years of city history and the current state of the real estate market is a gamble and game of monopoly where people play with peoples lives for a little bit of cash. Market rate tenants need stabilized apartments more and not the other way around. All I hear are spoiled adults complaining saying “Look what she has I want one too, and if I can’t have it nobody can!”. Grow up

      • Eric says:

        “entitled”

        hmmm.

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        very well argued, Claire.

      • Eric says:

        Claire and Bruce,

        Let me say up front that I’ve got nothing against rent stabilzation, have benefitted from it in my life, and having nothing against others that do. More power to them.

        In 1965, my grandparents lived in a lovely rent-controlled apartment with a sunken living room on Macombs Rd. in the Bronx in a neighborhood so dangerous that you could no longer walk 3 blocks to shul there. They paid $65/month and had to be pried from it to move to nicer, safer Bayside and pay $90/month which was NOT within a retired shirt cutter’s means. They really had no choice. Until all areas are the same some will cost more to live in.

        Neighborhoods change and of course the people who move into desirable ones like ours inevitably end up paying more and changing by their very presence and preferences the very place they were first attracted to. But we can’t give people a “neighborhood values” test when they cross north of Columbus Circle.

        You say that “Peoples lives and homes should not be looked at as investments or profit margins” but that IS the intrinsic difference between privately-owned housing and government-owned housing. How could we possibly expect a building owner to look at their property any other way? Tenants are their customers, not their family. No tenant would volunteer to pay more so that their landlord could make a larger profit, so why would anyone expect a business to charitably accept less rent than the market could bear?

        I suppose we could pass legislation requiring every landlord to open their books, declare their costs, and accept a mandated percentage of profit. I think many people think would enjoy that … no more tiers or classes, just a mandated rent that would rise only with the costs of maintaining the building. But I can tell you the rental tenants in our coop would initially see large increases under that scenario.

        There is a good case to be made for affordable public housing, situated in all neighborhoods of all income levels, but regrettably our city and state have not proven very adept at running it.

      • Cyrus says:

        “Peoples…homes should not be looked at as investments or profit margins.”

        Er, um, what? Buying a home is one of the best investments someone can make

    22. Mark says:

      Most landlords receive plenty of tax breaks and do not suffer from below market tenants. Stabilized leases are designed to function exactly as they sound, by providing working families with stable rents to help them grow and move up in society. Market rate tenants are the victim of a trend started about 15-20 years ago to flip rents and milk every apartment for what it’s worth regardless of its true value. These apartments do not cost market rate values to maintain, and they are just investments by big corporations to make as much money as possible off of peoples lives. For years market rate tenants knew how NYC real estate worked and that they were victims of unfair rent prices, but they had enough sense not to punish or curse the stabilized or rent controlled tenants because they knew it had nothing to do with them. In recent years though there is a strange trend happening where market rate tenants are all of a sudden turning on their stable neighbors and pitting each other against everyone. As a diverse city there should be diverse rents and I think market rate tenants should stop letting their jealousy show so much. It isn’t regular economics it is just plain greed. Instead of thinking everyones rents should be as unrealistic as theirs, they should be trying to figure out how to get their rent back to a stable level economically. The key word is stable, stable rents for stable lives. This is the last city where the working man has advantages in his favor. Advocating for it’s erosion shoots everyone in the foot and won’t make you feel any better at night paying inflated prices on your apartment.

      • Eric says:

        “These apartments do not cost market rate values to maintain”

        I for one would be grateful if you would share the data on which you base the statement. Anyone who lives in a coop and troubles to read their financial statements knows that actually these buildings are frightfully expensive to maintain, clean, and heat.

        • Christine E says:

          I completely agree. There are stabilized renters in our coop building and their rent is a fraction of the coop monthly maintenenace. Which goes up every year at a rate much faster than that of the rent stabilized leases.

          Also I am not in favor of the stabilized apartments being below market rate into perpetuity. I get that you would not want to kick out somebody elderly or disabled who has lived there for decades and would have adjustment problems moving somewhere else. But there is no reason why their child or cousin or anybody else should have the right to inherit that lease. Pack up, find a new apartment – market rate people do it every day. Unless you own the apartment, it’s not “yours.”

        • H says:

          And in many buildings the tenants themselves pay for most if not all of the features associated with “maintenance”. Many buildings only pay to have a person come once or twice a week to move already sorted trash to the curb and to mop floors in halls. This takes at most a couple of hours a day. So those buildings have limited costs for maintenance. Perhaps a lot of buildings “maintenance” costs include full time staff to deal with minor issues of the spoiled. Guess what? Most of your workers are not working so wake up. But you idiots pay those fees and get your nurps in a twist because someone has a better deal.

          • Woody says:

            You, too, lose credibility in this debate if you think that ‘maintenance’ costs are only those associated with taking out the trash and mopping the floors. It’s difficult to have a logical debate with so many people who voice such strong and drama-filled retorts that aren’t based in reality.

            • h says:

              Actually I know workers that do this kind of work. They laugh @ the stupidity of those that spend such high fees for little return. Obviously there are other costs but many buildings owners or management companies do the work on the cheap. Just because my view and experience differs from yours or from theories doesn’t mean it is not valid.

    23. sophia says:

      If you can afford to pay $3K – $4K per month in rent for an apartment, but are complaining that it’s too much, not fair, etc., etc., there’s another solution: Move to the outer boroughs or out of state! There are better, much less expensive places in these United States to live and raise a family. If landlords cannot find tenants who are willing to pay these outlandish rents, only then will rents decrease. As a retiree on a limited budget, I cannot afford to move, not only for financial reasons, but also for the inevitable support system that my extended family could provide in time of need.

    24. Independent says:

      1.) Are there any statistics that break-down the income and wealth levels of tenants living in rent-regulated units?

      Surely, of these, there are at least some who truly depend upon these drastically lower rents. And, at the other extreme, at least some who are wealthy enough to enjoy second-homes and other clear luxuries. (Of the latter, there at least some who are doing so illegally, not meeting one or more of the stipulated conditions.) And then there are no doubt many who fall somewhere in-between either extreme. It would be helpful to have some actual numbers.

      2.) Some sort of reform of the existing rent-regulation system, one that would incorporate means-testing, would appear to be in order.

      3.) What percentage of market-rate residential units are owned or rented by people who do not use said units as a primary residence– or even as a residence at all?

      Such cases include not only properties purchased by investors* that remain vacant but also properties maintained by the super-wealthy from all over the world who use them as little as a few days out of the year (if even that).

      *(Many, if not most of whom are foreigners. One need not harbor any ill-will against foreigners, per se, in order to appreciate that one’s own countrymen– just as one’s own family and own community–should always come first.)

      4.) Here in Manhattan, ordinary working stiffs in need of basic, essential housing must compete with the likes of such extravagantly wealthy individuals as I mentioned above (as well as millions of others), for extraordinarily limited and congested space. Incredibly, people (reflexively, it would seem) continue to refer to this as a “free” or “natural” market.

      • Lake says:

        But why isn’t there a place to report the fraud by those who are overincome for the rent stabilized units?

    25. 9d8b7988045e4953a882 says:

      UWS stabilized tenants are some of the most entitled people on the planet. They twist themselves into pretzels rationalizing this unfair program that completely insulates them from the facts of economic life in the city. Zero percent rent increases while everyone else’s housing costs are going up? Give me a break.

      And no, I do NOT want a stabilized apartment. I want to pay my own way and not be dependent on some politician for my basic needs. Abolish rent stabilization once and for all.

      • dannyboy says:

        So if you don’t WANT a stabalized aparment, no one should have one either?

        By that logic, I’m a Vegerarian so stop eating meat.

        • 9d8b7988045e4953a882 says:

          No. I want to do away with rent stabilization completely. Individuals should be responsible for finding housing that they can afford.

          If I was able to obtain a stabilized apartment, I would offer to pay $2700 to deregulate it. If that wasn’t possible, I would donate the discount to an organization dedicated to ending rent stabilization and other forms of intervention into the housing market.

          • dannyboy says:

            These laws govern regulated landlord-tenant matters. Why do you want to eliminate them in your hypothetical, as they would not pertain to you?

          • Christina says:

            Again, 9d8b…. I was responsible to get an apartment I could afford! Though it was a while ago with rent increase every 2 years! So, you make no sense! I work my tail off to make rent as well. My rent is not rock bottom by any means, That’s the exception to the norm. A lot of people, in fact I bet most , have an apt that is in the 4 digit number like myself that is rent stabilized. So you make no sense!

      • Christina says:

        Are you serious 9d8b…????!!!! First of all, I think all of these people who could afford much higher rents are the ones who feel entitled!!! Also you have to get your facts straight… the 0 percent are only for one year leases. I know that the last time I had a rent increase it was over 7 percent. It’s hard enough for me to make the rent. So getting a break at about 3% is fair. My rent is Not in the double digits or even in the triple digits, It’s in the 4 figures. So there seems to be a Big misconception that all people under rent stabilization are paying $85 or $850.00 in rent for an apt. Or that everyone has enough money to rent in a stabilized apt. and have a country home with 2 cars. That simply is Not the case. I’m able to make my rent but just barely and have been living in my apt. for years. This is what I can afford. So, it’s not an unfair program. This was never such a huge debate until luxury housing started popping up everywhere, deregulation skyrocketed and the Entitled upper classes moved in, squeezing the middle class out!

        • 9d8b7988045e4953a882 says:

          Why should you be entitled to a below-market rent while another renter who might be willing to pay more must commute into the city or live in a less attractive area? I don’t see the justice in using the power of the state in this manner, sorry.

          • Christina says:

            It’s called “life”. What’s the justice of someone being able to afford an apt. in the city and a home in the country with a swimming pool and a three car garage??? I work extremely hard and I can’t afford it.Unfair!!!… Are you kidding me? It’s just the way it is. It’s like a person who buys a ticket to a show, concert or whatever and paid x amount of $ for a seat, while the person next to him/her paid xxx amount of $ because he/she got a ticket later when prices went up. Is that fair? Maybe not but it’s the way it is. Should that person be pissed off because he’s paying a higher price for basically the same ticket? Maybe! because he waited too long to buy a ticket at a lower price.
            Besides that analogy, I should be able to stay in my rent stabilized apt. that I’ve lived in for many years which just so happened to be rent stabilized when I moved in. It was the norm. Not my problem that you or any one else waited or decided to move into the city later when decontrol started out of control. Life isn’t fair! If it was I would have my home in the country, swimming pool and 3 car garage instead of trying to make ends meet regardless how hard I work.

          • Christina says:

            Another thing. There’s no “Willing to pay more” with me. I Can’t pay more. And as far as the state running this. it’s not something I thought about many years ago because most apt.s were rent stabilized. So now I should feel guilty for an apt. I got a long time ago and rent stabilization wasn’t a crime? I don’t think so!

            • 9d8b7988045e4953a882 says:

              The vast majority of cities do not have rent control/stabilization, and miraculously, people (including those of your income level) find places to live! Amazing, isn’t it?

              I’m sure you are a decent person, work hard, etc. This isn’t about you. It’s about whether rent stabilization is a proper use of state power and is good public policy. I content that this program has been a disaster and that it is unfair to everyone else who pays their own way.

              All I ask is that you don’t vote for politicians who perpetuate this program (i.e. trading your vote for cheap rent in one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Manhattan).

            • Christina says:

              I appreciate what you’re saying 9d8b but “those of your income level” are a lot people who have rent stabilized apts. And we do “pay our own way”. I have no idea what that statement’s about. Like I said, stabilized apts were plentiful and the norm. When you looked for an apt. odds were that you got a rent stabilized apartment. End of story! And I know it’s not about me. I’m just one of SO Many people who work to pay rent! And yes, stabilized rent to boot!!! As far as voting down “cheap rent in one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Manhattan” I must tell you that it wasn’t too long ago when The Upper West Side was anything but desirable. And we were living in that! So now that it’s more desirable we should move out! Screw that! I lived here longer when it was a slum than not. Not my problem you didn’t and now you’re living here when it’s “So desirable” and stabilized apts are rare and you must pay “market” rent.

    26. Independent says:

      Rent-regulation needs to be reformed, not abolished.

      Other aspects of the city’s real-estate market also need to be reformed. The interests of Americans with jobs and family here must be placed ahead of wealthy, often foreign, investors and playboys/playgirls.

    27. Todd Alexander Balzano says:

      If availability is in question . Dozens of stabilized buildings sit empty . The owners have millions and pay the taxes for incentives and loss perks on there taxes while stabilized units sit vacant eventually after harrassing or buying out the last tenant they demolish deregulAte and exterminate vital rare last remaining rent stabilized units and franky if they can offord to do this they really don’t need the money . It’s profitibal for them yes . It it’s not necessary or political correct and does no good for regular folk just trying to survive it actually makes housing more expensive and difficult for life harder and more expensive for everyone and should be a law about how long anyone landlord can allow buildings to idle vacant for the purpose of extermanating stablisation . While the Bob. Rewards them with tax breaks.it needs to be stopped now.

    28. Todd Alexander Balzano says:

      Obviously uws lifer is an infectious oust .
      Greed is the root of all evil.
      The game of monopoly has many ups and downs like the roller coaster of life. How you conduct yourself on the coaster , may very well determine which ride you go on next .
      The games not over yet . I’m a rent stabilized tenant and I can be annoyed I can’t be threatened
      Or evicted for that matter

    29. Todd Alexander Balzano says:

      I can be annoyed . But no one is more annoying then me .