Affordable Housing in CH Discussion
  • This discussion was created from comments split from: New Building Owners Raising Rent in Crown Heights.
  • This report provides a nice introductory guide as to how organizations and municipalities can create and perserve affordable housing.

    https://www.appleseednetwork.org/preserving-affordable-housing-in-gentrifying-areas/

    While the strategies it suggests are "too late" for the posters in this thread and likely "too late" for Crown Heights as a whole, the strategies are used (and fought by opposing forces) across the country.

    Honorary degrees in Urban Planning and Real Estate will be bestowed later.



  • Ebony??? Don't tell me you have a subscription...


  • While I find I have more in common with readers of Ebony than I do some other magazines, I do not actually have a subscription.

    "The neighborhood she regarded as hers,

    is now regarded by others as theirs.

    However, neithers' status is assured

    in the long term."

    whynot_31

    July 22, 2013



  • whynot_31 said:

    Some light reading on the topic appeared today's Ebony:

    http://www.ebony.com/news-views/notes-from-gentrified-brooklyn-045#axzz2Zn0hpnW4


    NICE! Thanks for posting this :D


  • In present day Brooklyn, people struggle to figure out the interplay between the various factors (race, class, income, etc) and then come up with weights and ratios that work for them.

    Because we are individuals, none of us are going to come up with exactly the same answers. However, -again- because we are individuals, we then have the urge to tell each other they are wrong.

    I liked her piece because it seemed to understand that, as well as the fact I perceive it as being spot on.


  • whynot_31 said:

    In present day Brooklyn, people struggle to figure out the interplay between the various factors (race, class, income, etc) and then come up with weights and ratios that work for them.

    Because we are individuals, none of us are going to come up with exactly the same answers. However, -again- because we are individuals, we then have the urge to tell each other they are wrong.

    I liked her piece because it seemed to understand that, as well as the fact I perceive it as being spot on.


    Really? I thought her piece was more of the classic "Oh god! Oh god! New people are coming into *my* neighborhood and changing it!!"


  • You are free to read it that way. I viewed it as expressing a sense of loss, because "her" Brooklyn is no longer what it was.

    It now exists only in her memory, because everything and everyone who used to live here is gone.

    I experienced a similar feeling when I went back for a college reunion: The campus had been massively renovated and redesigned, the students didn't look or even think the way I did. ...It was no longer the place it was, and it was never going to be so again.

    Yet, someone from development had the nerve to ask me if I wanted to donate.


  • whynot_31 said:

    You are free to read it that way. I viewed it as expressing a sense of loss, because "her" Brooklyn is no longer what it was.

    It now exists only in her memory, because everything and everyone who used to live here is gone.

    I experienced a similar feeling when I went back for a college reunion: The campus had been massively renovated and redesigned, the students didn't look or even think the way I did. ...It was no longer the place it was, and it was never going to be so again.

    Yet, someone from development had the nerve to ask me if I wanted to donate.


    You can never go home again.


  • whynot_31 said:the students didn't look or even think the way I did.


    You expect us to believe that used to be different?


  • As I've written before, ownership of a neighborhood in NYC is largely illusionary. The sense of common purpose, thoughts and identity tends to hold only until it is challenged. Then, people seem to either blame the challenger (buyer?) or the challenged (seller?).

    However, because there was never an explicit agreement as to purpose and identity, such blame is a losing proposition.

    The college experience is more honest. By seeing people graduate, you know that unless you carve your name in the newly poured the sidewalk in the quad, none of the future students will ever know your were ever there.

    And, now, some on-topic music from Pink Floyd:



  • whynot_31 said:

    I viewed it as expressing a sense of loss, because "her" Brooklyn is no longer what it was.

    It now exists only in her memory, because everything and everyone who used to live here is gone.


    Exactly, whynot! It's not talked about as often but some longtime residents aren't pushed out or priced out or motivated mainly by cashing out. Sometimes they leave because they feel left out of a place that has become unfamiliar right before their very eyes.


  • NothinLikeABklynGirl said:

    Exactly, whynot! It's not talked about as often but some longtime residents aren't pushed out or priced out or motivated mainly by cashing out. Sometimes they leave because they feel left out of a place that has become unfamiliar right before their very eyes.


    Another factor is the rate of change!


  • Nothinlike-

    I think it is talked about more than we realize, but --because the discussions do not occur in "mixed company" or in front of large audiences-- we are just not there to hear it.

    In "polite society", we are afraid to state in public how much we prefer to be around people and businesses familar to ourselves. I think this hesitance stems from not wanting to offend and/or endure the tired accusations that inevitably follow.

    Humans are rarely as simple as public discourse describes them, and I find it sad that people don't seem to grasp the complexities of preferences, and don't realize that everyone has them to some degree. Some people seem to condemn others for having any preferences at all.

    Money is a classic example. It is a thing that most people like, and people like to condemn people for liking.

    While few leave "lots of money" on the table when it is offered, when one moves, money alone can't buy everything that people (including the writer of the Ebony article) seem to value.

    As you allude, statements such as "well, you got lots of money for cashing out", and "you are just bitter because you couldn't buy/rent there at the new rates" don't tell the whole story.

    Whether they want to or not, some people become attached to the full array of factors that make up their surroundings.

    In the case of Western Brooklyn, things they thought would never change, quickly have changed. Their sense of permanence and consistency is lost.

    An additional thing that isn't talked about very often, is that this sense of anomie/alienation is compounded when those leaving realize that those "creating the change" openly state they don't necessarily have long term plans for the neighborhoods in Brooklyn: "I might stay, I might not. It depends."

    In otherwords, the person leaving does not end up feeling that the sense of permanence and ownership they perceived is valued or even sought by those who are following them.

    Those leaving seem to believe the newcomers should want to stay in Brooklyn forever, as they did. However, those arriving have far more opportunities and power than those who are leaving. As a result, they see western Brooklyn as a good place to live for a while: While they explore their options and become who they are going to be.

    ...A few of the newcomers might carve their name in the freshly poured concrete in front of the new condo, but as not many as those leaving would like.


  • It would be difficult to measure, but (as you point out) some newcomers might even struggle with the change MORE than those who are leaving.

    The newbies seem to struggle with the fact that they are a part of the larger environment (be it the world or the neighborhood), whether they like it or not. Like the author, some take conscious steps to NOT express preferences and tell others about them.

    However, faceless entities like "the business community" expect that they (as a group) will -in fact- express their preferences, as they have in every other neighborhood in which they have arrived.

    Such generalizations offend and trouble this subset of newcomers; They want to think that they are different.

    They want to be treated differently, because they believe they treat others differently.

    As a result of inheriting the world in its present condition, they want to believe that the groups that they are a part of (perhaps their "generation") are different than those who came before them. That they are not repeating the "mistakes" of the past.

    Slowly, over time, most come to terms with how much of life they can change. They reach an understanding of the power they possess, which includes what is possible in the present environment and what is not.

    As a result of this process, some even forgive the prior generations for sins and "mistakes" they have perceived them of committing.

    They slowly comes to terms with who they are, and to what degree others are like and unlike them. Slowly, they create a less rigid, less idealistic definition of what is "fair".

    They realize that life is not as simplistic as what they may have been taught or concluded: It can not be simply defined and understood in terms of racism, classism, oppression and privilege.

    At times it is painful to watch. At times it is humorous. Regardless, they have to go through it for themselves. Because if folks who have already been through it try to tell them not to go thru it [or to go about it in a different manner, or that they won't be successful] they (we?) will be told that they (we?) are jaded cynics, and sell outs who have become part of the machine that they believe is evil.

    Our efforts may even make them respond by trying harder, which will just increase the pain.

    Thus, our moral obligation may be to be quiet. Very quiet.

    shhhh.

    Today's Curbed and this weekend's NYT Magazine provide some timely related reading: http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2013/07/24/why_rent_regulation_laws_cause_all_sorts_of_terrible_problems.php#more

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/28/magazine/the-perverse-effects-of-rent-regulation.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&


  • I came across this ad for a property for sale in Park Slope today.

    http://www.terracrg.com/setups/219_13th_Street.pdf

    I post it because page 2 clearly shows the disparity in rental income a landlord receives for the different units. All of the apartments started out as rent stabilized, but thru the processes we describe above, many are not.

    As part of considering how much to bid for building, the buyer "bets" or "estimates" how easy it will be to convert the remaining units to market rate. The processes used are documented through out this thread....


  • Today, it was announced that NYS is investigating a landlord with a property in Crown Heights for violating the rent stabilization rules:

    A preliminary audit of agency records showed that Wasserman frequently registered rents as $2,500, regardless of what the rents had been before, to allow the landlord to claim the units were no longer rent regulated, according to a press release sent out by the governor. The audit also showed that Wasserman may have deregulated apartments while simultaneously receiving a J-51 tax abatement, “which mandates that apartments remain rent-regulated,” said the statement.

    http://www.brownstoner.com/blog/2013/10/closing-bell-state-investigates-crown-heights-flatbush-landlord-for-tenant-abuse/#comments


  • Usually, a tenant who is being overcharged must take legal action against their landlord. As discussed above, this takes place pretty rarely in "changing areas" because the tenants are willing (and able) to pay the rate.

    The new state agency enforces the law on its own, without a complaint being filed by a tenant. This may cause LLs to be a little less blatant about breaking the rules.

    http://www.brownstoner.com/blog/2013/10/landlords-object-to-tenant-protection-agency-after-investigation-of-crown-heights-owner/?ic_source=ic-featured-frontpage-top


  • On July 10 2013 (page 3 of this thread), I quoted:
    922 Prospect Place: Crown Heights – 4-story 9,000 SF property that consists of 8 two-bedroom apartments, out of which 5 are rent stabilized and 3 are free market. Rents for the building are significantly below market with the current income at only $130,812/annually
    Today, I quote:
    TerraCRG has been retained to sell the multifamily building located at 922 Prospect Place. The ~9,000 SF property is situated between New York Avenue and Brooklyn Avenue in Crown Heights. The four story property consists of eight 2 bedroom apartments, out of which Seven may be delivered vacant. There is significant upside with rents in the area ranging between $30/SF to $40/SF, or $2,500/month to $3,300/month for a two bedroom. Crown Heights has seen tremendous transformation over the last decade with many condo developments, strong retail, and a robust brownstone sales market. In just a few years, rents have risen from $20/SF to $40/SF, and are poised to reach $45/SF and above within the next two years. As a result, Nostrand Avenue, just a block away, is now seeing a strong retail market with the addition of new restaurants and boutiques servicing the new demographic. Setup and Pricing: http://www.terracrg.com/setups/922_Prospect_Place.pdf
    In other words, in the past four months, seven of the eight apartments have been vacated.Buyouts have likely occurred, and/or the apartments are not covered under rent stabilization, because receipts for improvements were submitted to HCR.Needless to say, the seller is now far more likely to obtain their asking price $3M. ...and that, my friends, is how the market works.
  • The following article was published today, and belongs here:



  • I don't even know why the phrase "rent_control" is even embedded in the URL for that Gothamist post. The story is clearly about rent stabilization. People often seem to conflate the two, which hinders the conversation about whether rent regulation is still needed or whether it's justifiable.
  • At this point, Rent Control is so rare that I assume that when someone mentions it, they mean Rent Stabilization.

    Referencing one, while meaning the other, is a common mistake among people who don't work in the real estate field.



  • What is the incentive for landlords to charge the preferential rent and not the legal rent? We've had various amounts of work done in our building (upgrading the electrical, new floor tiles, new light fixtures, paint job) and although our landlord is great, I can't imagine he's spending all this money on upgrades to just "be a nice guy."
  • The LL is able to document these upgrades/expenses with HCR in order to increase the Legal Rent s/he can charge.   Eventually, this Legal Rent will exceed the $2500 rent stabilization limit, and the apartments will be free market.     

    In the interim, it makes sense for s/he to charge you a Preferential Rent because you (and your neighbors) are a steady stream of income.     

    The LL is basically foregoing some of the rent increases they could implement, in exchange for not having to fill apartments that may become vacant as a result of rent increases.

    In the future, the LL can either increase the rents all at once, or sell the building to someone who will. 

        


  • This article about the conflict between the residents of a building located on Franklin Avenue and Union, and its new landlord.

    http://www.bkbureau.org/2014/03/03/tenants-form-union-to-fight-gentrification/
  • Thanks @whynot_31

    Here's a link to an MCI (Major Capital Improvements) fact sheet that I found pretty helpful, relating to my post above

    http://www.nyshcr.org/Rent/factsheets/orafac24.pdf

  • Yes, as alluded to above, buildings with rent stabilized apartments in them are being purchased for so much money that the new owners have to get rid of long term tenants in order to make any money.

    The new owners are willing to pay this much because they are confident that the city will not enforce the existing regulations, and/or that they will be able to get the apartments out of rent stabilization via methods that are legal. Both varieties of "methods" are discussed above.

    There are not many moderates in the field of tenant advocacy. For example, the group discussed in this article would like tenants to have rights that are not presently established:

    http://www.brownstoner.com/blog/2014/03/crown-heights-tenants-form-union-to-fight-displacement-rising-rents/?ic_source=ic-featured-frontpage-top
  • This comment on The Real Deal made me smile (edited for grammar), because it describes a structural conflict:

    "The tenants protest that landlords are offering buyouts.

    What next? Protest under market rent they pay?
    How about protesting the fact they have to turn on the faucet to get water.

    Shouldn't the evil landlords know when the tenant needs water, and turn it on for them?

    Heck these guys would protest that they have to pay rent at all.

    Had one tenant last week who flooded out his apartment.

    Says the drain was clogged and its my fault. Even if it was my fault why didn't he shut the water once he saw that bathtub was overflowing?

    Anyway I Offered him a buyout and he accepted. After I redo apartment the rent is going to be nearly double what the guy was paying. And I also get a higher quality tenant. Yipee!"


    http://therealdeal.com/blog/2014/03/06/crown-heights-residents-rally-against-displacement/

    related reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conflict_theories
  • When some of my tenants call me when they hear one mouse scratching in the wall or if the bathroom sink gets clogged with their hair. I pull out the hair and show it to them; and pay the exterminater $175 to bait this one mouse and he tells them to put down a glue trap. Then, when the lease is up am I not to raise the rent?
  • Dawndew thats class A bullsh!t and you know it! 

    Where there is one mouse there mostly likely several more. If all your exterminator is doing is putting down glue traps then you need a new one. A good exterminator goes around finds where the mice are getting in and either tells you about them or seals them.

    Yes you have bad tenants. It's part of the business. Neither of these is the real reason landlords are raising rents and pricing GOOD tenants out! Their doing it because they can and want to make more money. That too is part of the business. I've come to accept it but you should at least of the decency to be honest about it. Your not raising rents to punish your tenants but cause you can!

     
  • These two items may help.    

    The first is that price for a given unit is naturally the intersection of demand and supply, and government has been ineffective at changing this:


    final_paper_html_m33ae3f3f

    The second is to understand the ways in which gov tries to change nature, in the pursuit of providing tenants some modicum of rights.   I really wish government was more effective at achieving some of these things than it is:


  • bkrest said:

    http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2012/04/courts_will_sto.php



    the New York State office of court administration (oca

    ) formerly sold New York city court information,

    including tenants’ names and addresses, in bulk electronic form by a computer-to-computer transfer.

    in March2012, the oca announced that it will no longer include the names of tenants involved in New York

    city Housing court eviction proceedings in the electronic data feed it sells to tenant screening companies.

    the oca’s decision to omit this information from the electronic data feed is a victory for tenants

    because it will now be much harder for

    landlords to engage in blacklisting.

    this development does not, however,mean that blacklisting is over. the oca continues to provide a daily electronic feed of all new cases and updates on pending ones. although the feed will not contain the tenants’

    names, it is not difficult to match an index number to the tenant’s name through the court’s public access computer. Until the oca stops providing the electronic feed to the data companies, tenant blacklisitng will continue.

    http://www.nysba.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=LegalEASE_Informational_Pamphlets&ContentID=46338&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm

    kinda pointless isn't it.




    May 2014 Update:
    Housing Court is still selling the names of every tenant that is brought to Housing Court.

  • Crown Heights,

    This broker markets investment properties.   He is wise enough to not provide the exact addresses, but by reading through it, you could reach the conclusion that the building you presently rent in is very likely to change hands:
  • newguy88 said:

    Dawndew thats class A bullsh!t and you know it! 


    Where there is one mouse there mostly likely several more. If all your exterminator is doing is putting down glue traps then you need a new one. A good exterminator goes around finds where the mice are getting in and either tells you about them or seals them.

    Yes you have bad tenants. It's part of the business. Neither of these is the real reason landlords are raising rents and pricing GOOD tenants out! Their doing it because they can and want to make more money. That too is part of the business. I've come to accept it but you should at least of the decency to be honest about it. Your not raising rents to punish your tenants but cause you can!

     


    I didn't mean to quote it all but, Gee, Newguy are you irritable,?  Life is too short to spend it punishing tenants. I am just saying, if your going to be a prima donna tenant you have to cover the costs.  If houses were not an investment no one would buy them or rent space to others.
  • Yes, despite all of the regulations, landlords have the right to make money off their property.    These rights include using buyouts as a method of getting long term tenants to vacate their apartments.

    This flyer provides long term tenants information on what they should do if they are offered a buyout:

    I've seen a lot of long term tenants take really low buyout offers, because it was the most money they ever saw at one time in their life.

    If they haven't received an offer yet, it is very likely they will in the future.   This article tells the story of how many people have moved into to Brooklyn, versus how many new units have been constructed:


  • 770 St. Marks Avenue
    637 St. Marks Avenue
    and 24-30 Rogers Avenue

    You are next.

  • Title of post does not cover the topic now. We could easily say all landlords new and long standing from every background, from the little old ladies to the conglomerates are raising rents.
  • People do tend to provide a product or service in exchange for the best price they can get.

    ...I can't see that changing.
  • Funny, I know quite a few landlords who would be happy to get $1600 or so for a two bedroom in Lefferts Gardens or Crown Heights because they're getting a lot less than that now. Sometimes you have to look in the smaller buildings (2-4 family) because those landlords usually live on the premises and are willing to take a little less for someone who's stable.
  • Mr. Pragmatic, send me their contact info, please:)
  • I have a few friends who live in small buildings and receive below market rent.

    Some do this in exchange for maintaining their own apartments (painting, appliances, etc) but others have landlords that just don't want to go thru the turnover that happens when market rate is charged.

    Prior to age 30, I think it is hard to find such deals because you are regarded as a potentially noisy tenant with poor painting skills.
  • Ditto PM me the info too @pragmaticguy !  haha
  • @pratmaticguy send those landlords here when they are looking for new tenants. I've been in a two bedroom in Crown Heights for over 5 years now and even when I first moved my rent was above $1600! I'm currently concerned that my lease will not be renewed so the landlord can raise the rent even higher for new tenants. I'll accept a reasonable ($50) or even semi-unreasonable ($200) hike in rent, but I'm expecting the worst with all the changes going on here these days.
  • Perhaps we can vote in a Patron Saint of Affordable Housing in CW:)
  • Actually I have told them to post here. They are currently fixing apartments in a building a Bedford south of Empire and I have given them the website and hopefully they will post on here and save the trouble of dealing with an agent.
  • If you want, I'll give you a pile of business cards to pass out to such folks.

    image


  • I already tell everyone about the site. They also have two buildings on St. Johns off of Nostrand. There are some vacancies there too. Hopefully they'll be listed on here soon. I've even offered to do it for them. They're good clients of mine so maybe they'll listen to me.
  • Actually I have told them to post here. They are currently fixing apartments in a building a Bedford south of Empire and I have given them the website and hopefully they will post on here and save the trouble of dealing with an agent.



    I think I know which building...I've seen scaffolding around one building in particular.
  • If you read closely, you realize that the housing being offered won't be in Crown Heights but the info session on how to obtain it almost is:


    10498491_10152294262561270_6707417521301212856_o
  • whynot_31 said:

    Today, it was announced that NYS is investigating a landlord with a property in Crown Heights for violating the rent stabilization rules:

    A preliminary audit of agency records showed that Wasserman frequently registered rents as $2,500, regardless of what the rents had been before, to allow the landlord to claim the units were no longer rent regulated, according to a press release sent out by the governor. The audit also showed that Wasserman may have deregulated apartments while simultaneously receiving a J-51 tax abatement, “which mandates that apartments remain rent-regulated,” said the statement.

    http://www.brownstoner.com/blog/2013/10/closing-bell-state-investigates-crown-heights-flatbush-landlord-for-tenant-abuse/#comments




    The state's investigation/prosecution of this landlord concluded recently. Here's the scoop:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/08/nyregion/settlement-in-investigation-of-brooklyn-landlord-over-rent-regulated-units.html?ref=nyregion&_r=0

    HCR's press release: http://ht.ly/CrpjY
  • Here's an update on the blacklist maintained by landlords that we discussed above:


    Summary:  If you are a tenant, you should fear it.   If you are a landlord, you count on it.   Regardless of who you are, it is real.

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