Landlord Groups Turn Up Pressure on Lawmakers with Ad Campaign

With rent laws coming up for renewal, landlord groups have been pushing back against the support that has been building for major reform. A coalition of New York City building owners has begun an ad campaign that calls on lawmakers in Albany to protect small property owners' ability to recover the costs of upgrading their rent-regulated buildings. The campaign ads are sponsored by Taxpayers for an Affordable New York, which is backed by the Rent Stabilization Association, the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), the Community Housing Improvement Program, and the Small Property Owners of New York.

The coalition is calling for responsible rent reform that will protect tenants, but also small property owners who are already struggling to maintain their buildings. The group will air ads on TV and roll out a digital campaign that features two NYC property owners. The owners will describe how amendments to the rent regulation law—which is up for renewal by the state Legislature this June—would hinder their capacity to maintain their buildings.

The group also argues that some of the proposals—like making rent increases tied to major capital improvements (MCI) or individual apartment improvements (IAI) temporary, rather than permanent—would make it harder for owners to keep up with maintaining their apartments. They also argue that should these reforms be implemented, the city could lose $2 billion in property taxes from rent-stabilized buildings, according to an analysis for REBNY by consulting firm HR&A of data derived from the New York City Rent Guidelines Board, Department of Finance, and the Housing and Vacancy Survey.

The analysis also notes that the MCI program has coincided with improvements to the city's rental housing stock. Since 1991, the percentage of renter-occupied units with severe maintenance deficiencies has been cut in half.