Evictions Are Down in New York. Thank the Voters.

The rent protections passed by the newly Democratic State Senate are working.

Column (New York)

Mara Gay
New York Times (NYT)
December 26, 2019

Tags: Housing: Eviction, Housing: Landlord-Tenant


Landlords were allowed to raise the rent by 20 percent each time a new tenant arrived. Once the rent reached a certain threshold — last year, $2,775 — the apartment was taken out of the rent stabilization system, letting landlords charge whatever the market would bear. Rents could also be permanently raised to pay for improvements, a system rife with fraud that also helped push rents over the stabilization threshold and into the open market.

Tenants challenging evictions and rent increases faced long odds in housing court, where they often represented themselves against high-powered lawyers arguing the case of building owners. New York City has increased funding for legal services to represent low-income New Yorkers in housing court, but the overall odds were still in the landlords’ favor.

Together, the rising rents and perverse incentives helped push hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers from their homes and, too often, into shelters. Since 1994, more than 290,000 rent-regulated apartments have been converted into market-rate units.