NYC Pilot Program to Fund Repairs for Vacant Rent-Stabilized Units
Mayor Adams recently announced an initiative that will invest $10 million to repair stabilized units that are empty, and turn them over to tenants with rental assistance vouchers. The pilot program is called “Unlocking Doors,” and the city will provide up to $25,000 for needed repairs at each of 400 rent-stabilized homes that are currently vacant and unavailable for rent. The city will then match the rehabilitated apartments with households with City Fighting Homelessness and Eviction Prevention Supplement (CityFHEPS) vouchers for use.
According to the announcement, the program will begin accepting applications this summer. The city will focus on the small number of rent-stabilized apartments that have been chronically vacant and need significant repairs to become safe and habitable. New Yorkers moving into the renovated units will receive a two-year lease at the existing rent-stabilized monthly rent. They will then be able to use their CityFHEPS voucher to pay a maximum of one-third of their income for rent, and the city will cover the remaining balance.
Owners applying to join the pilot will need to demonstrate that their apartment is chronically vacant and has been registered with the DHCR as continuously vacant, that the rent for the apartment doesn’t exceed program-specific rent thresholds, and that they will sign a rent-stabilized lease with a CityFHEPS voucher holder.
The exact eligibility criteria, including affordability levels, will be determined through rulemaking. However, the announcement stated the program pilot will prioritize units at the lowest stabilized rents, or around $1,200 per month for a one-bedroom apartment. Once repairs are complete, HPD will confirm that the building and apartment meet CityFHEPS housing quality standards, and the NYC Human Resources Administration will reimburse owners for qualifying repair expenses up to $25,000 per unit after an eligible New Yorker with a CityFHEPS voucher moves in.