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JV Editorial

Why Aren’t Real Estate Groups Fighting the Rent Regs???



In the last several decades, New Yorkers have marveled at the plethora of new, luxury buildings that have sprung up across the city. While housing costs have always been a challenge for those who desire to live in the Big Apple, it appears that living in a decent apartment in the city may become the ultimate challenge. On June 14, the newly Democrat-controlled NYS legislature passed a number of rent reforms that dramatically limit landlords’ ability to raise rents. According to the Commercial Observer, the law amended the state’s current emergency tenant protection laws, which were first passed in 1974 and have been extended and amended several times since then.

Having offered a background, we now offer a theory. On the surface of this matter, it would appear that low income New Yorkers and others who are struggling to pay their rent each month have now found that the proverbial albatross has been removed from their collective neck. It would appear that the dark cloud of growing concern about rent increases that they can no longer afford has been permanently deleted from their list of worries.

According to those with vast knowledge of the real estate industry in NYC, laws that stop landlords from raising rents will also prevent people who wish to move to New York City with all of their diverse talents that make this city as vibrant as it is. When landlords cannot raise the rent of a new tenant who is taking the apartment of someone who is moving because by doing so they would be in direct violation of the law, then the landlord cannot spend the monies required to refurbish the new apartment and the new tenant will be forced to live with antiquated appliances and in less than stellar conditions.

The squeeze on landlords will also trickle down to tenants and chaos will erupt in the NYC housing industry. What the Jewish Voice is most concerned with is the abysmal failure of the organized real estate industry in this city to have seen this dilemma coming up the metaphorical pike. Not only did the Real Estate Board of New York not have the prescience to see this imbroglio manifesting itself due to the political zeitgeist of socialism that has been wafting in the air for the last several years, but they did nothing to head it off at the pass.

Back on June 26, it was reported that John Banks, who has served as the president of the REBNY for the past five years will be retiring and will be succeeded by James Whelan, a longtime senior executive at the trade group. That seems kind of odd. A man who is only 58 years of age would consider retirement from such a prestigious organization. It appears that Banks is ill prepared to deal with the turbulence that lies ahead for the industry and in fact, did little or nothing to bolster the status and gravitas of the real estate people he was to have represented. That is beyond tragic.

REBNY and other established groups that represent realtors and developers have let their contemporaries down in formidable ways. Not having the courage to stand up to radically left-wing politicians has not only cost the Amazon deal for NYC but will have even more detrimental ramifications. As preeminent NYC building owner and manager Ron Edelstein observed, “Some building owners in NYC definitely believe that this legislation was motivated by a seething anti-Semitism.” The time to act is now to save our city from squalor and deprivation.

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