HPD Releases ‘Speculation Watch List’ to Fight Displacement

HPD recently announced the release of the “Speculation Watch List,” a new tool to track rent-regulated properties that may have been purchased by predatory investors and identify properties for enhanced tenant support. The city is making this information available so that tenants and tenant advocates can see another indication of where tenant harassment may occur. The list was announced as part of the Predatory Equity bill, which was signed into law earlier this year.

Released quarterly, the Speculation Watch List will include about 150 recently sold rent-regulated buildings a year. When including buildings on the Speculation Watch List, HPD looks for rent-regulated buildings that sell at much higher than expected prices, which, according to HPD, can signal that new landlords may raise rents, reduce services, or otherwise force out rent-regulated tenants to realize their investment. The buildings included on the list have lower capitalization rates, where a building’s income cannot support its purchase price, than average for each borough.

HPD also published a separate, broader list of all rent-regulated building sales and their capitalization rates in the city to allow for additional analysis of data that has not been publicly available previously. This new measure is the latest in a series of efforts to protect tenants from harassment and displacement as part of the mayor's comprehensive Housing New York plan, including the Certification of No Harassment Pilot Program, the Tenant Anti-Harassment Unit, and the Partners in Preservation program.