The primary issue I am trying to raise is that Rent Control should be abolished.
Rent Control is an "emergency regulation" which must be renewed by the state legislature every few years. The state gives the local communities the option of establishing rent control. A few communities in Westchester and Nassau Counties have Rent Control, such as Long Beach in Nassau County, but the only city in New York State which still has it is New York City.
Rent Control only applies to those who have lived in the same apartment since before July 1, 1971. The building can be of any size.
Rent Stabilization only applies to dwellings of six families or larger. If less than six families live in a building, it does not come under Rent Stabilization.
In Bedford Stuyvestant where I am running for election, neither Rent Control nor Rent Stabilization have much impact. Most residents of Bedford Stuyvesant live in either large New York City Housing Projects or in private dwellings with less than six families. The housing projects are not rent regulated at all because they are owned by the City of New York and the City can charge any rent it wishes. In the private dwellings for less than six families, rent stabilization does not apply and there are few rent paying families who have lived in the same apartment since before July 1, 1971, so rent control does not apply either. Most Bedford Stuyvesant residents live in small private apartment buildings, usually either three or four family dwellings. These buildings do not come under Rent Stabilization at all. There are a few Rent Controlled apartments in Bedford Stuyvesant, but the numbers are small. Although very few residents of Bedford Stuyvesant receive any benefit from rent regulation, all of us are hurt by the rent control laws, because all of us have to pay higher rents in order that the privileged few elsewhere in the city get a break. Almost all Rent Controlled apartments are in Manhattan, primarily in the Upper West or Upper East Sides. Residents of Bedford Stuyvesant have to pay higher rents have so that residents of the Upper West and Upper East sides can continue to enjoy their luxurious low-rent life-styles.
Many building owners leave their Rent Stabilized apartments empty rather than rent them out because they cannot charge enough rent to pay for their heating and hot water costs. This is a primary cause of a housing shortage in New York City. If a building owner does not provide his tenants with hot water and heat, he can be arrested and sent to jail. This is why many buildings go into bankruptcy and many owners simply walk away and abandon their buildings.
There are only about 50,000 rent controlled apartments left in New York City. This number has remained stable for more than a decade and does not drop because nobody wants to give up a rent controlled apartment. These apartments are passed around from person to person and from generation to generation, or they are illegally sub-let or they are used as storage rooms.
"What difference does it make?", you ask.
The difference is that there are more than ten thousand abandoned buildings in Bedford Stuyvesant. Almost all of these abandoned buildings are owned by HPD, which is the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. The abandoned buildings in Brooklyn are under the control of Mr. Herb Siegel of that Department, with whom I have met and discussed this issue. I went to see Mr. Siegel because I was trying to get him to agree to sell me some of these abandoned buildings, so that I could renovate them and turn them into affordable housing. Mr. Siegel would not agree, and so the buildings sit empty and remain abandoned.
If I am elected, I will force Mr. Siegel to sell these buildings at public auction to private real estate developers. This will bring millions of dollars into the city coffers, thereby reducing the financial deficit and the tax burden. More importantly, abandoned buildings will go the way of the dinosaur. There will be no abandoned buildings in Bedford Stuyvesant any more. All of them will be renovated and rented out by private enterprise.
A common misconception is that these buildings are abandoned because nobody wants to live there. This is not true. Many people want to live in these buildings and there are many developers with money to invest who want to buy these buildings and renovate them. However, in view of the rent control laws they are afraid that they will not be able to charge market rents. Also, the Buildings Department makes to very difficult to obtain a "C of O", or certificate of occupancy, so that rent payers can move in.
If I am elected, I will push for vacancy decontrol of all rent stabilized apartments. This means that the rent of current renters will be unchanged but, as they move out, building owners will be able to charge market rents to the next tenants.
I also will push to abolish New York City Income Taxes. After rent control is abolished, the market values of all properties in New York City will rise. The City will receive more money from real estate taxes. The loss in income from the abolition of income taxes will be offset by (1) the money the city will get from selling the abandoned buildings to private developers, (2) the real estate taxes which will be collected once those buildings have been renovated and rented out and (3) the increased property taxes after the value of all buildings in New York City will rise once rent regulation has been abolished.
Vote for me!!
More about the election is at http://www.samsloan.com/bedford.htm
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