Monday, July 15, 2013

Responses to the NY Post Editorial

The NY Post again wrote that rent regulation is responsible for the lack of affordable
apartments.  Several tenants set the record straight:

The Issue: Whether rent regulations truly help the middle class and poor find affordable places to live.

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Letter from Michael McKee:

“The Apartment Complex” got it exactly wrong (Editorial, July 10).

Rent regulation is the result of a housing shortage, not the cause.
Tenant protections were created to give more New Yorkers homes they can afford. Even though the median income of rent-stabilized households is a mere $37,000, protections have been systematically gutted by the Real Estate Board of New York and Mayor Bloomberg’s landlord pals.

The senseless subsidies that The Post should be seething about are the millions in tax-breaks for the luxury condos of wealthy New Yorkers and non-residents. Those giveaways to developers are often funded by tax dollars from New York’s working families — the people hit hardest by the huge increases for rent-stabilized apartments, adopted by Bloomberg’s rent board.

Our next mayor should support stronger rent regulations and create more affordable housing.

Michael McKee
Real Rent Reform Campaign
Manhattan
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Supply and demand are a basic element of price determination, but greed is another element. In every American city where rent regulations were either decreased or eliminated — including Boston, San Francisco and Cambridge — there was no stabilizing of rents and no additional housing created.

Rather, the loss of regulations led to exactly what is already occurring here: landlords charging whatever they feel they can get, often much more than is supported by simple supply and demand — even if that means that both the lower and middle classes are unable to pay.

I resent the implication that after helping to create neighborhoods that are so desirable that landlords can charge exorbitant rents, those of us in rent-regulated apartments should be forced out because we cannot pay outrageously inflated rents.

Ian Alterman
Manhattan

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The shortage of affordable housing is the direct result of years of weakening rent laws, including vacancy decontrol, by the state Legislature.

Unfortunately, without campaign-finance reform, the real-estate industry will continue to have its way with many of our legislators in Albany. These are the same legislators who have blocked all attempts at rent reform, while they dole out corporate welfare in the form of tax abatements for luxury towers in Manhattan.

To blame the lack of affordable housing on rent regulations is ludicrous. 

Barry Soltz,
President
Janel Towers Tenant Association
The Bronx
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In cities like Boston and Cambridge, where rent regulation ended, the result was a huge increase in apartment price, not more affordable housing.

Ending regulation — from housing and gun regulation to Wall Street and Texas fertilizer plants — harms, rather than helps.

In fact, many developers are now choosing rent regulation because they get tax breaks. And if owners get less than 8 percent return on investment and are willing to open their books to the state, they can get a rent increase. So they’re not suffering.

Sue Susman,
President
Central Park Gardens Tenants’ Association
Manhattan