MIT Research Shows Elimination of Rent Control in Cambridge Increased Property Values by $1.8 Billion

What is the cost of rent regulations in New York City?

A recent analysis of the impact of decontrol in Cambridge may offer some clues. According to economists at MIT, property values in Cambridge increased by $1.8 billion in the 10-year period after decontrol in 1994. Interestingly, property value gains were greater for property that had never been controlled than for previously controlled property.

Since there are vastly more rent regulated properties in New York City than in Cambridge, $1.8 billion may be a fraction of the increased property value to garnered by decontrol in New York.

Any economist out there want to extrapolate the potential tax revenue to be gleaned by decontrol in NYC?


                                               – Jack Freund, Executive Vice President, Rent Stabilization Association 

(Views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the RSA.)


 The complete study can be accessed by clicking here.

Can You Really Claim Two Rent Controlled Apartments?

In an item that belongs in the “Only in New York” column, the NY Post reports that a caretaker is laying claim to a deceased couple’s $291 per month, three bedroom, rent controlled apartment even though the caretaker resides in a $747 per month rent controlled studio in Gramercy Park.

You can’t blame the caretaker for trying to improve her situation – after all, if she is successful, she could legally rent out extra bedrooms for a tidy profit—but you would think her chances of success were slim. However, the City’s courts have ruled, in certain circumstances, that rent stabilized tenants may lay claim to more than one apartment so, you never know. This is New York City, after all.

                                                    – Jack Freund, Executive Vice President, Rent Stabilization Association 

(Views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the RSA.)


Caretaker fights for $291-a-month rent-controlled pad


An East Village woman claims she can take over a $291-per-month rent-controlled three-bedroom apartment because she tended to its two elderly inhabitants for four years — even though she’s not related to them.

Now the landlord is trying to boot her.

Margaret Hearn, 48, began living at 345 E. 12th St. in 2008, when she became a full-time caretaker for sisters Margaret and Josephine Ruta, whom she met at church.

Josephine died in March. Margaret died last year.

When Hearn returned from Josephine’s funeral, the apartment was padlocked. Her brother cut the lock, and she has moved in.

Margaret Hearn

Margaret Hearn

“I was emotional. I had just been to a funeral, and I felt I was losing it, and this happened,” Hearn said, adding the landlord “wants to remodel the apartment and charge more.”

Similar pads in the building go for $4,400 in rent.

Hearn — who also keeps a rent-controlled $747-a-month studio in Gramercy Park — says the landlord, 339-347 East 12th Street Investor LLC, filed to evict her in May 2012.

Phillip Wartell, a lawyer for the landlord, did not return calls.


Source: New York Post

India Considers Easing of Rent Control Laws

Modifying rent control act would ease housing shortage

By Indo Asian News Service | IANS India Private Limited – Sat 22 Sep, 2012


New Delhi (IANS)- To help bridge the housing shortage of over 18 million units, the government is planning to modify the rent control law to encourage owners to rent out their homes.

Stating this at a press conference to release a panel report on urban housing shortage, Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Selja said she has “discussed with state governments the need for a relook at the archaic rent control act”. This would help bring about 11 million houses lying vacant into use for occupation. “Mutual contract should be effective in settling the rent,” the minister said.

Another proposal is to include the builder lobby in constructing houses for the poor sections, which would help bridge the housing shortage for the economically weaker sections – at over 10 million, and the lower income group – at over seven million.

“Housing should be made part of the infrastructure sector or declared an industry,” Selja said, adding that it should be made lucrative for the construction lobby to build houses for the weaker sections.

Another proposal is that houses that are over 80 years old – 2.2 million – should be shifted to new units.

Another proposal is to address congestion – of a married couple having perforce to share a room with another adult due to shortage of space. The 15 million households facing congestion would be enabled to “create extra space or build extra rooms through support from public agencies”.


Source: Indo Asian News Service



Midtown East Rezoning: “Why Wait?”

“The City’s approach to commercial development is the same as for residential development: thwart development where developers want to build and encourage development where developers show no interest.”

                                 – Jack Freund, Executive Vice President, Rent Stabilization Association 

(Views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the RSA.)


City of Hoboken files complaint about confusing wording on rent control ballot question for November

Sep 10, 2012

HOBOKEN — In November, Hoboken voters will decide on whether to remove rent control from certain buildings once a tenant moves out. The measure is supported by a property owners’ group but opposed by tenant activists. Tenant activists have said the language of the ballot initiative is confusing.

Apparently, the city of Hoboken agrees.

An order to show cause, verified complaint and brief were filed Monday on behalf of the city clerk in relation to the question, according to a city press release.

According to the release, the city believes that the current proposed wording is misleading to voters, and the only way to fully protect their rights is to have the ballot question worded in a clearer manner. The city submitted a version of the question that they think is clearer, although it’s not shorter.

If the court denies the motion to revise the public question, the city has requested the approval of an accompanying interpretive statement alongside the original question. The city also requests that ballots not be printed until the matter is decided by the court.

“Regardless of which side people take on the question of rent control, voters deserve a clear understanding of the issue on which they are being asked to vote,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer.

Source: Hudson Reporter

Attempts to Re-Establish Rent Controls In Boston Never Died

Rents North of Boston Up 9 Percent in 5 Years; Rent Control Needed?

By John List, Esq. on August 31, 2012 3:08 PM

If there’s one thing that a recession does, especially when there is a housing crisis, it’s to increase rent. In the communities north of Boston, rents increased by 8.9% to an average of $1,427, while vacancy rates dropped from 7.8% to 4% in the same amount of time, according to the Boston Globe.

These factors have led to a shortage of housing for low- to moderate-income renters, reports the Globe. If this trend continues, should Boston or other locales reconsider rent control or rent stabilization?

Rent control is a law or regulation that controls the amount of rent that can be chargedand limits how much rent can increase over time. Some states specifically forbid rent control, while others allow municipalities to enact rent control laws at their option.

In 2003 and 2004, the Boston City Council considered a rent control law. The proposed Rent Stabilization legislation would have applied to all buildings with four or more units, as well as non-owner-occupied three-unit dwellings. The main goal was to limit the times when rent could be increased and the amount that it could be increased.

But the legislation fell through, and so Boston is still without any rent control laws. However, it is unlikely that the law would have kept rent from rising less than it did over the past five years. The law would have allowed for a maximum 5% increase per year for low- to moderate-income, elderly and disabled tenants, and a maximum rent increase of 10% per year for everyone else.

While rent control laws are meant to help people keep lower rents, from this recent report it does not seem like there has been any abuse of renters, at least in the communities north of Boston. Perhaps rent control will come up again in the future if evidence of massive abuse comes to light.


Source: Boston Real Estate Law News