NYC Landlord Says New Laws Designed To Protect Renters Preventing Him From Maintaining His Units – CBS New York
Some landlords say now they simply don’t have the money to renovate certain apartments, instead keeping them vacant or in poor shape, CBSN New York’s Lisa Rozner reported.
Rozner saw one apartment in the Bronx on Monday that was down to the sticks. Everything was ripped out as part of plans to renovate, but landlord Oscar Perez put a hold on it after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed new rent laws in June. Previously, a roughly 20-percent rent increase could be added when a unit was vacated, and owners could add additional increases to the rent for upgrades made to the apartment.
Now, those rules are gone.
“I can’t count on money to come in because there’s no chance to recover it from anybody. No tenant will be able to pay me for it in a rent increase or as a vacancy allowance that would help me recoup some of it,” Perez said.
Like most rent-stabilized buildings, the one Rozner saw dates back to the early 1900s, and the recently vacated apartment hadn’t been touched in over a decade.
Perez said two of his 20 units on Hoe Avenue in the Morrisania section of the Bronx are vacant.
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When asked if he’s worried at all about being accused of warehousing, Perez said, “Well, you could accuse me, but in reality I’m not warehousing. I just don’t have the money to finish it.”
He said he had spent $45,000 on work until the law passed.
Mold is another problem in these old buildings and while inspecting a newly vacant unit, Perez found it behind a wall. He said that repair will cost around $5,000 alone.
Under the new law, landlords can still pass off money spent on upgrades in the form of a rent increase, but only on a limited basis. For instance, Perez would have increased the rent on one apartment about $100, from $830 a month to $930, but he said he might be able to increase it $10 due to the new law.
Sponsors of the bill say these laws protect tenants as some building owners would use the increases to increase rents significantly and convert affordable apartments to market rate.