UPDATED, 16 October 2020, 10:00: Rents across the city continued to fall in September, and hundreds of frustrated landlords are feeling the crisis – and demanding relief.
The median rent in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens fell in September, according to an analysis of active apartment listings as of September 30. The real solution. The largest decline was in Queens, where average rents fell by almost 12 percent, from $ 2,600 to just $ 2,295. The decline was a little less steep in Brooklyn; there rents fell 7 percent from $ 2,914 to $ 2,700. It was the same story in Manhattan, where average rents fell 5 percent, from $ 3,418 to $ 3,200.
Manhattan has seen an improvement in inventory: Active apartment listings in the neighborhood fell from 21,736 to 20,182 in September. This trend in other neighborhoods did not last: In Brooklyn, apartment listings rose by almost a third, from 4,628 to 5,945. 71 percent, from 1307 to 2238.
Since Covid-19 struck, vacancy rate in Manhattan it has climbed to historic highs. In August, the vacancy rate reached 5.1 percent – the third record month in a row since appraiser Jonathan Miller began tracking many years ago.
Landlords continue to cut rents to retain their tenants and save their investments, but the loss of revenue along with non-payment from some tenants – plus eviction limits to be paid by the end of the year – puts pressure on smaller landlords who want City Hall to start act.
A coalition of groups representing smaller landlords plans to take to the streets on Friday to demand that the city reduce property taxes, eliminate late property tax fees altogether, or delay the sale of tax liens, which is currently scheduled on November 3.
Joanna Wong, a landlord who represents one of the assembly groups, small property owners in New York, said many smaller landlords are frustrated with tenants who are able to pay rent but choose not because they cannot be evicted while account holders for real estate tax accumulates.
“I understand there are serious problems, but that doesn’t mean they should have a free ride,” Wong said. “Just because people hurt doesn’t mean it’s free for everyone.”
One law that sought to provide a subsidy to low-income tenants came up with too many eligibility requirements, Wong said. One of her tenants could not obtain a state subsidy because part of her income was in cash.
Jan Lee, a member of the Alliance of Chinese Property Owners in New York, whose family owns about 25 units in Chinatown, said small landlords have problems other than larger ones and need to “have a distinctive voice.”
Lee said a rental voucher program, sponsored by Manhattan Sen. Brian Kavanagh, was not enough to meet the needs of landlords. Kavanagh’s law allocated $ 100 million from federal funds to provide subsidies to eligible landlords, but the state-funded agency was congestion as required when the program was run, and questions remain how much money was allocated.
“Everyone knows that’s not enough, but the idea that canceling a lease is the solution, because property owners have this big pot of money we can dive into, is imaginative and illogical,” Lee said. “We are not for anything that will interrupt the economic flow.”
FIX: An older version of this article misspelled the name of a member of the NY Chinese Property Owners Alliance. It’s Jan Lee, not Jim Lee.