Sleep with dogs, wake up with fleas. Or, rent to the City of New York and have your property condemned. Mayor de Blasio last week announced he would use eminent domain to take buildings with large numbers of homeless families placed in them under the “cluster housing” program. It is not clear how this solves the homeless problem.
The Mayor’s other new plan to address housing shortages is to help finance 200 condos or co-ops a year for middle income families with an “Open Door” program. It will help a whopping 1300 families by 2026 and joins the Neighborhood Pillars program, the Mitchell-Lama Reinvestment Program, Seniors First, and HomeFix programs, among others.
The City Council, meanwhile, has issued a 72 page report on the problems of retailers. Among the ideas: require building owners to report retail vacancies of more than 90 days, new zoning to require street retail in some residential areas (presumably to create more vacancies), and tax incentives because taxes are too high.
The Council was also busy on the housing front last week, passing legislation to add “an individual’s actual or perceived romantic, physical or sexual attraction to other persons” to protected classes; and prohibiting building owners from requesting identification from tenants or prospective tenants that would indicate citizenship status, unless such documentation is otherwise required by law (i.e., a tax i.d. for a security account) or is requested for a specific and limited purpose such as, perhaps, a credit check.
The Council also amended the J-51 law to increase the assessed value per unit for eligibility from $30,000 to $32,000 and index it for inflation.
The latest episode of Housing Authority screw-ups included the Authority sending “breach of lease” notices to tenants who may or may not have missed lead inspection or repair appointments, and a report, Wednesday, that 81% of 8900 units inspected in 2017 (after four years of missed inspections) had potential lead hazards. Buried in the story, however, is the fact that more than half those units are believed to be lead free and may just have peeling paint.