Monday, December 21, 2015

City, State Officials Are Asleep At The Wheel (Or Look The Other Way) As NYC Landlords Rip Off Ten$ Of Million$ In Real Estate Tax Breaks While Breaking Law Requiring Registration Of 50,000 Apartments For Rent Regulation

In New York City, ProPublica reports:
  • In late August, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other top New York officials announced an unusual crackdown on landlords. Nearly 200 building owners were collecting big tax breaks under a program to spur housing, officials said, but hadn’t registered their apartments for rent stabilization as the law requires.

    “We will not tolerate landlords who break the law and deny their tenants rent-regulated leases, plain and simple,” Cuomo said in a statement at the time. With Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the governor announced a new enforcement effort to clean up such abuses.

    But an investigation by ProPublica found that in reality, state and New York City officials have tolerated the problem for years — and ignored pleas to investigate. Nor is it limited to the building owners Cuomo and Schneiderman found — landlords have failed to register thousands of buildings for rent regulation, casting doubt on the legality of leases for about 50,000 apartments across the city.

    That is the finding of an extensive analysis of government data covering nearly 15,000 rental buildings receiving the tax subsidies as of 2013. About 40 percent — or 5,500 buildings — weren’t listed as rent- stabilized, yet records show the owners are receiving more than $100 million in property tax reductions.

    Stephen Werner, an analyst at the city’s Housing Preservation and Development Department (HPD), has been complaining to higher-ups about the missing registrations for decades. Werner said he first told his bosses 20 years ago they were “perpetrating a fraud” by counting too many apartments as rent-stabilized in the triennial surveys prepared for the City Council and the public.
For more, see Landlords Fail To List 50,000 N.Y.C. Apartments for Rent Limits (Owners are getting $100 million in property tax breaks while violating the law requiring them to officially register, and city and state officials are unable to explain why).

See generally, The Rent Racket (How Landlords Sidestep Tenant Protections in New York City) for more on real estate tax break ripoffs by major landlords of newer buildings in New York City

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