12:41 am, 03/08/2012
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I gotta set the record straight before one asshole gets the US Supreme Court to tell us that we can’t have our rent regs. Everyone has heard some story in the news about super rich New Yorkers renting rent regulated apartments for rock bottom prices, much to the ire of landlords. Many have thought to themselves that something MUST BE DONE about these ABUSES TO THE SYSTEM. Sounds like a great place to direct our populist rage, but just like everyone freaking out about overblown pensions, it’s one more way that the “99%” are pitted against each other.
First of all, contrary to ignoramuses, the median household income for rent controlled apartments is $24,000, $36,000 for rent stabilized apartments, compared to $46,000 for non-rent controlled/stabilized/public housing units according to data from 2007 (that’s pre-2008 recession!!).
Rent regulation is titled as such because there are regulations. They have been put in place to maintain rent regulation programs as a way to help low and middle income New Yorkers. Income-based deregulation is in place so that the ultra-rich cannot do what we think they are doing. And lest you worry that we have no recourse against people use rent regulated apartments as pied-a-terres, there is also a primary residency law. Even Congressman Rangel couldn’t get around that one.
For every story about a rich person with a cheap apartment, there are ten more stories involving landlords using these kinds of regulations to intimidate law-abiding citizens. The landlords will harass tenants into vacating their apartments in order to renovate the units and raise the rent. If the rent is raised enough with these improvements, landlords can convert them to market rate units. How do ya like them loopholes?
Just like it’s not fun to talk about mundane, carefully budgeted grocery store trips with food stamps, it’s similarly not as fun to talk about poor and lower-middle class seniors and families who have worked hard to stay in the City (this ain’t Sex in Cities or whateva) and pay a stable, affordable rent. It’s more fun to flip a shit over the exception, and that just makes it even easier for Governor Cuomo and his real estate BFFs to trample all over cool things that you wish you had, but are probably not getting if he continues with his phony pro-tenant housing bills.
C’mon people, we can’t let a few rich turds ruin it for us again and again and again. I’ve been around the block, yelled at by way too many landlords, and filled out too much paperwork with sad sacks to not give all of my shits about this. If any of this makes you as angry as me, then call your electeds!