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Report: State's 'eviction bonus' largest contributor to rent increases on stabilized apartments

Cyril Josh Barker | 5/19/2016, 3:26 p.m.
According to a report by the Community Service Society, New York State’s “eviction bonus” is responsible for nearly 50 percent ...

According to a report by the Community Service Society, New York State’s “eviction bonus” is responsible for nearly 50 percent of the citywide total increase in stabilized rents above inflation.

The report, titled “Making the Rent 2016: Tenant Conditions in New York City’s Changing Neighborhoods,” documented the widening gaps between rents and incomes for tenants and the related surges in overcrowding, which is often a precursor to homelessness.

The statutory vacancy allowance, or “eviction bonus,” allows an automatic increase of approximately 20 percent when an apartment becomes vacant and is rented to a new tenant. The vacancy allowance accounted for 48 percent of the citywide total increase in stabilized rents above inflation.

“Loopholes in our rent control laws are contributing to the city’s affordable housing crisis by allowing unscrupulous landlords and real estate speculators to pressure tenants into moving out of their apartments and then jack up rents during the vacancy,” said David R. Jones, president and CEO of the Community Service Society.

Other key findings in the report include that rents have risen far faster than incomes since 2002. Rents continue to rise the fastest in upper Manhattan, Brooklyn and western Queens, driven by changes in the city’s economy and high demand, and low-income tenant households in the unassisted market have become significantly more overcrowded since 2008.