State and city officials have been doubling down their efforts to expose the unscrupulous deeds of landlords overcharging their tenants. So far, the “Real Estate Tax Compliance Program” has turned up 194 building owners who’ve been charging market-rate prices but raking in tax breaks under the 421-a program. Of interest to you, perhaps, is that those 2,400 units are concentrated in Greenpoint, Williamsburg, and Bed-Stuy (see here and here).
What this means: a number of Greenpointers paying market-rate rent may soon get the rent-regulated leases they were legally owed.
Notices were served to the law-flouting landlords, who had failed to register their units as rent-regulated after they went from condo to rental status during the recession. At the moment, their options appear to be “comply with the law” or have their rents frozen while the Tenant Protection Unit collects damages on the tenants’ behalf.
Housing-wise, this is pretty much like finding a $50 bill in your pants pocket. If we were anything like Berlin, we would enact a piece of savvy “rental price break” legislation and see our rents drop 3.1% in the first month alone. For now, rent-regulated apartments more commonly follow the “dying breed” narrative in New York City, as this interactive map shows.
Whether or not you still have hope for any of us, you can take matters into your own hands and find out whether your unit is subject to any rent regulations.
The New York City Rent Guidelines Board has a list on their website of all buildings containing rent-stabilized units, organized by zip code and street name.
You can also request your rent history via the New York Department of Homes & Community Renewal.
A general rule of thumb: if your building was built pre-1974, has 6 or more units, and the rent is currently under $2,500, the answer is probably yes, your unit is or was rent-stabilized.
In the meantime, you could also wait until Oct. 22, which is the deadline for your crooked landlord to notify you of your rent-stabilized status. It may be a couple of months before you feel the difference in your wallet, however.