Council Fights Building Improvements

Be prepared to be publicly shamed on a “speculation watch list” if you buy a building with high leverage to fix it up under legislation passed by the New York City Council Thursday. Buying a building with large numbers of violations could also get you on the list, depending on criteria to be developed by HPD. A second bill will prevent you from getting a building permit to renovate apartments or fix many violations in certain neighborhoods without a Certificate of No Harassment issued by HPD after a hearing.

The Council also broadened the definition of harassment to include knowingly providing any false or misleading information to any resident of an apartment, making multiple false violation certifications, or materially misrepresenting the regulatory status or occupancy of a building on a permit application.

Ironically, the Council approved an East Harlem neighborhood rezoning at the same meeting, where hoped for development will be slowed by the above measures.

The Preliminary Maximum Base Rent Factor for 2018-2019 is 7.4%. The Division of Housing and Community Renewal held a hearing on the proposal Wednesday. Tenants and politicians called for a rent freeze, but DHCR has always adopted the number dictated by formula in the past. The biggest cost increase reflected in the formula is a 9% hike in property taxes.

In its continuing effort to be the City’s Worst Landlord, NYCHA planned to break into hundreds of apartments this week to do visual lead paint inspections. Don’t try this at home as we imagine the City would accuse a private owner doing this of harassment.

Housing is tight, but Newsday found rentals for most budgets available across Long Island in a recent survey, with one bedrooms ranging from $1400 in Patchogue to $2115 in Sayville.

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