Permanent Affordability?

The New York State Attorney General’s office this morning released a memorandum outlining how an 80/20 developer could sell the market rate units in a project prior to benefits expiration, as long as “permanent affordability” for the low-income units could be maintained. The definition of what permanent affordability means is sketchy.

The demand for affordable housing, however, is clear. 53,000 applicants are vying for 89 subsidized apartments at El Barrio Artspace in East Harlem, and HPD officials say that is “on par” with the number of applications for most NYC Connect Housing lotteries.

East New York, Broadway Junction, and parts of Flatbush in Brooklyn, and the Bronx waterfront are the most likely places for upzoning for housing construction, according to interviews with Borough presidents in the latest Real Deal Magazine. Brooklyn’s Eric Adams and the Bronx’s Ruben Diaz were the only BPs to suggest sites where higher density would be welcome.

DEP has announced a new round of grants to help property owners develop green roofs and install porous pavers in open space.

Is the left coast leading the way again? The San Francisco Board of Supervisors this week passed legislation that would legalize short term rentals in residential apartments, a la Airbnb, effective in February. There are some caveats: only primary residents can offer the rentals (not investor owners), they have to be registered and insured, the buildings cannot have any violations, they have to pay lodging taxes, and rent controlled tenants cannot charge more than their rent.

There was also a constitutional challenge to one aspect of San Francisco rent control heard this week. Owners hoping to withdraw from the rental business in San Francisco cannot evict tenants without paying them off. A local landlord and the Pacific Legal Foundation are arguing that the mandated payments are excessive and put an unconstitutional burden on private property owners for the benefit of other individuals without any proven need. Just like, for example, New York’s demolition policy under rent stabilization and rent control.

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