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Rent Control has some significant inequities

Posted by A Gen Xeer on June 17, 1997 at 13:19:30:

I am not a landlord. In fact, I will be renting a unstabilized/uncontrolled apartment in a stabilized/controlled building very soon. And I will be paying MARKET rent for something in disrepair.
I read further down on this board issues such as: Rent Controlled/Rent Destabilized (RC/DC) apartments are primarily pre-war and their mortages have been paid, therefore the rent's obtained are purely profit. Also, I read, the renters in question have been living in their residence for many years and the co st of their rent over the years would have bought the building 10 time over. Good point here to be made.
However, Not all buildings have mortgages that are paid. When someone buys a building or an apartment, they buy it with all current leases in tact. Some landlords ARE still paying their mortgages. Also, even if the mortgages are already paid, there are still expenses to be paid annually. You may ask what expenses would there be if the person in residence is not receiving any maintenance insi de their apt? First their are the obvious expenses. Maintanance and utilization of common areas, electricity, elevators, superintendants for one. Most pre-war buildings not only come with beautiful details like cove moldings, they also come with need o f roof repairs, asbestos removal, new boilers etc. My parents co-op spent $100,000 on a new roof and it "ain't no luxury dwelling."
For example: Their apt. on the open market would rent between $1,000 and $1,200 a month. The person who lives above t hem pays exactly $106 per month. This doesn't even come close to paying the maintance which is $600 a month. There are few apts. like this in that building and therefore it is very difficult to sell enough units to give the building 50% control. Withou t that control, the banks will not lend money for repairs. You can't kick the people out. But, who is going to purchase an apt that they can't live in, and that runs a $500 a month deficit. Who has to make up for the slack? The building was required t o put in new windows a few years ago. That was very expensive. It had to replace the boiler that was over 50 years old. Before it could do that it had to remove the asbestos in the basement. It also had to redo the roof and do a lot of maintenence on the elevator. Who is paying the super's salary? Who is paying for the heat in the building, the water, the electricity in the halls. Certainly not the guy paying $106 a month. No one wants to through out an old person, so of course all of this is tole rated. What gets me with the current rent laws is this: When that guy dies, his son, who is young and perfectly able bodies will inherit the lease? Since when should you inherit a lease of something that you don't own. It is understandble with a spous e or significant other, but an abled bodied off-spring. That is totally ridiculous. The building should be allowed to bring the rent up at least to $600 a month to cover the maintenance.
Regarding the idea that someone who has lived somewhere could have bought the building 10 times over..... well, if they could have why didn't they? I can understand that some people never had enough to do so, however this idea doesn't take in account that a person purchasing a building is taking on a certain amoun t of financial risk. If something were to happen to this property, an earthquake a fire, the renters need to find a new place to live and buy new furniture. The owner has lost many thousands of dollars.

I also read someone expressing thoughts on t he stability of neighborhoos. If someone has lived in a neighborhood for their whole life, they should be able to stay their if they choose. Who are you speaking of? My fiance'has lived in his neighborhood for his whole life. We cannot afford an apart ment in "his" neighborhood. The only way one would be able to do that in the current market is if they maintain residence at their parents house.

Regarding RC/RD causing landlords to raise their rents astronomically. Some will try, but when their ap artments remain vacant for a long time, they will be forced to lower their rents. This isn't supply and demand, elementary economic theory. This is something I have actually witnessed from a former landlord of mine. He kept raising the rent without mai ntaining it. We moved out. It stayed on the vacancy market for over a year until he sold the building! I don't think it will raise the rents significantly. I think it will even out the rents and in time, lower them. That person paying $1,500 for a st udio is in fact paying $1,000 for his studio and $500 for his neighbors who are not carrying their weight. And by the weigh, what are the demographics of these RC/RS apts. Sure there are some old people and poor people in these situations. But the majo rity of them are not? Poor people, real poor people tend to live in Government facilities. Why is it that most of the RC/RS apartment are in the most desirable neighborhoods where everyone would give their right arm to live? I find it strangely concide ntal. What happened to the pictures of familys that used to dwell in Manhattan in the 1950's. Families don't live in Manhattan. Not ANYMORE! The occupants of many of these RC/RS apartment are people who got these apts in the 1960's and 70's when they were students. My mom's old apt in the upper west side cost her $100 a month in 1968. But back then, people only made $50 a week. Can you really justify ANYONE paying $100 or $200 a month in these days? Everything else has inflated, including wages.

Finally, take a lesson from BOSTON..... they decontrolled the rent stabilization/conrol laws with a plan and it worked well for them. It created much needed rehabilitation and new building. Take a lesson from them and rewrite these crazy rent regula tions These things can be solved without making needy people homeless. But those of you who can afford it, start pulling your own weight and stop being selfish! Don't go down in history as the first generation who DIDN'T plan for the futures of their children like every other generation before you since the beginning of time.

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