NYS looking to pass a “NO EVICTION EVER” bill laced with rent increase restrictions...

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Albany's 'No Eviction Ever' bill will devastate landlords — and NY's housing stock

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Albany's "Good Cause Eviction" bill will strictly limit rent increases and evictions on New York City renters.

An Airbnb user who never intends to leave. Tenants not paying enough rent to keep up buildings. A roommate temporarily renting a room who later decides not to move out.

Under the Legislature’s misleadingly named “Good Cause Eviction” bill, these occupants can all remain in their apartments forever and the property owner has virtually no recourse.

“No Eviction Ever” would be a better name for an absurdly vague, sweeping proposal that would place strict new limits on rent increases and evictions for nearly 1.6 million New York renters.

While some revisions are likely, the business community and real-estate industry nonetheless fear it’ll become law with its devastating core elements intact.

The bill broadly defines nearly anyone who pays another person to occupy real estate in New York as a “tenant” and expressly prevents landlords from removing them except in the narrowest circumstances.

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The “Good Cause Eviction” bill would prevent owners of buildings with 12 or more units from reclaiming apartments for personal uses.

Aimed at imposing draconian restrictions on free-market apartments, the measure would create automatic lease-renewal rights even when tenants behave badly or landlords want to reclaim units for personal uses or to fix and sell buildings.

In theory, the bill lets landlords evict tenants for “good causes,” such as failing to pay rent, damaging apartments or using them for illegal purposes. But “No Eviction Ever” would turn even the simplest instances of nonpayment and lease violations into expensive, time-consuming court cases by setting the eviction bar impossibly high.

Consider rent increases. According to the bill, increases above 3 percent or 1.5 times the regional Consumer Price Index, whichever is higher, are presumed to be “unreasonable,” and not permitted. Worse, the bill leaves it to the court’s discretion to rule that any rent increase — even below 3 percent or 1.5 times CPI — is “unreasonable.”

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The “Good Cause Eviction” bill would prevent landlords from raising rent above 3 percent or above 1.5 percent of the Consumer Price Index, whichever is higher.

That means tenants could challenge all rent hikes — even those for trivial amounts or those desperately needed for maintenance.

The bill, which assumes tenants never support evictions of bad neighbors, amounts to a particularly damaging type of universal rent control in which tenants’ rents would be essentially frozen in place.

Property owners would end up subsidizing all tenants, even those in luxury apartments who could easily afford increases. Landlords would defer or skip repairs and upgrades to avoid the court battles necessary to fund them. This would harm everyone involved, reducing the quality of New York’s housing stock.

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The “Good Cause Eviction” bill would require landlords to be granted “vacate orders” from local governments in order to evict tenants renting their units out on Airbnb.

The bill’s proponents claim the bill mirrors laws in other states, including New Jersey. But New York’s proposal has far fewer grounds — and much less solid ground — for landlords to evict tenants. Under New York’s bill, a tenant could successfully fight eviction by claiming the landlord is attempting to avoid the bill’s “intent,” whatever that may be, since the bill does not clearly define its intent or what “avoiding” it means.


Other states’ laws also provide landlords much greater leeway to raise rents. A Jersey tenant must show that a rent increase is “unconscionable” — i.e., so unfair or unjust that it “shocks the conscience.”

Plus, the Garden State has at least eight additional eviction justifications beyond New York’s list, including habitual failure to pay rent, property-theft convictions, threats toward landlords and owners selling or converting properties.
New York’s “No Eviction Ever” bill, on the other hand, would completely prevent the owners of buildings with 12 or more units from reclaiming apartments for personal uses like providing housing for their unemployed or sick family members. (Owners of buildings with five to 11 units could claim an “immediate and compelling” need to take back apartments.)

On top of all that, New York’s already overburdened courts are ill-equipped to deal with more “immediate and compelling” cases.

Finally, “No Eviction Ever” outrageously protects tenants who illegally rent their apartments as short-term guests through services like Airbnb. The bill would only let landlords evict such tenants if property owners can convince local governments to issue “vacate orders.” Yet most municipalities, including New York City, don’t typically issue such orders. Instead, they fine landlords when tenants break laws pertaining to short-term rentals.

This would be a double whammy for New York landlords: a tenant who can’t be removed, coupled with government fines for not removing that same tenant.

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Proponents of the “Good Cause Eviction” bill say the bill mirrors laws in neighboring states like New Jersey.

Everyone wants to make New York more affordable. But the answer is not to violate constitutionally protected private-property rights, effectively transferring ownership of rental properties to tenants, regardless of their behavior.

Alexander Lycoyannis is a member of Rosenberg & Estis, P.C., a New York City real estate law firm.
 

Swirv

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There is no easy solution because this problems is like a damn onion.
 

adexkola

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Lol that writer is salty. Rent control is always a good thing.

Actually, it's not

I love the sentiment behind rent control. But it causes more harm than good, and is counterproductive. When you have rent control, you make the real estate market much less attractive for developers. That keeps supply low. Landlords don't make upgrades to their buildings. It can get ugly.

Wanna keep rent low? Flood the market with housing and rental stock. Eliminate zoning restrictions. Provide incentives to real estate developers to build. Prioritize multi-family housing. Convert commercial real estate to residential.

I'd so much love this, because it'll kill real estate speculative appreciation.

Rent control is the easy and ineffective way out. Doesn't work. Virtually every economist is in agreement on this. Can't flout supply/demand dynamics.
 

Scustin Bieburr

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Before I got my place I pulled up to see the apt with my credit score printed out, a reference from my old landlord, 3 months of pay stubs and my work ID pinned on my jacket.

You have to have clear expectations as an owner for who lives in your building. A friend of mine interviews roommates for 30min-1hr before choosing. And he asks them to come prepared with a resume and references.

Who will live with you, or in your building is an extremely important decision that you should not take lightly. So landlords who get bad tenants most of the time are really just looking for some quick cash instead of thinking about the environment they want their other tenants to be living in. Just because someone shows up cash in hand ready to take the place while others don't, does not mean you give it to that person who can get you paid the fastest.
 
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