Rent Stabilization in New York City
As inflation rises and the new median rent in Manhattan reaches a new high of $4,000 in May, the question about affordable housing becomes more crucial and important for the city. The median rent of $4,000 was a nearly 2 percent increase from April and more than a 25 percent increase from May 2021. The median rental price in Brooklyn also increased to $3,250 in May, an 18 percent rise from the previous year. These rent increases have been caused by more people returning to the city after the pandemic, high mortgage rates and many employees working from home and therefore justifying the higher rent charges as more value gets put into the home space.
On the other hand, eviction rates have started to climb as well, since the New York eviction moratorium expired on January 15, 2022, which protected many tenants from eviction during the pandemic.
In an effort to tackle the above mentioned issues the New York City Council and Mayor Eric Adams signed legislation to preserve critical affordable housing protections and make eviction prevention more transparent. This followed the preliminary vote of the New York City Rent Guidelines Board, to increase rent on one and two year leases for nearly 1 million rent-stabilized apartments. In New York City apartments are generally rent stabilized if, it is a building of six or more units built between February 1, 1947 and December 31, 1973. Tenants in buildings built before February 1, 1947 who moved in after June 30, 1971, are also covered by rent stabilization. Lastly, buildings with three or more apartments constructed or extensively renovated on or after January 1, 1974 with special tax benefits. For many of these apartments, the rent stabilization only continues while tax benefits continue or until the tenant vacates. Under the rent stabilization law, rents, leases and eviction regulated.
To extend these protections the Mayor signed bill Intro 70 extending the expiration of the rent stabilization laws from July 1, 2022 to April 1, 2024 and increase transparency around the City Fighting Homelessness and Eviction Prevention Supplement (CityFHEPS) rental assistance voucher. The legislation passed will declared that the housing emergency continued after the expiration date of the Rent Stabilization Law. Pursuant to state law, the City Council must periodically determine whether there is an ongoing housing emergency defined as a vacancy rate of less than 5% of the City’s rental housing stock to maintain rent stabilization laws. If an emergency persists, the Council can pass legislation to extend the City’s Rent Stabilization Law until the following determination is due. This extension is extremely important as Rent Stabilization laws protect 1 million renter households each year from wrongful eviction and unreasonable rent increases.
If these regulations will fix the housing problem that New York is facing is questionable, but it definitely brings the much needed relief for tenants.