High Salary Tenants To Pay ‘Fair Level’ Of Rent

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06/14/2012

Tenants on high salaries would in future pay a fair level of rent for the privilege of living in a social home, under plans announced by Housing Minister Grant Shapps. 
The Minister argued that this “handout to the very rich” must end if social housing is to offer the vital support system to those in need. On average the economic subsidy provided by this to high earning social tenants in England is worth as much as £3,600 a year – a subsidy Mr Shapps said he considers unfair both to taxpayers and those who have been left languishing on social housing waiting lists.

The proposals published for consultation today would see high-income tenants – for example those earning above £60,000 or £100,000 – potentially paying up to market rents if they want to continue living in taxpayer-subsidised housing.

The move could see tens of thousands of high earning social tenants paying market rents to continue living in their social homes.

Mr Shapps said that with millions of people languishing on waiting lists, it was right that those who could afford it ‘pay to stay’ in homes that should be helping those in the greatest housing need.

Today’s proposals would give social landlords the extra flexibility they need to increase rents for high-income households – and seeks views on whether this is something landlords should be required to do. The additional income generated could then be used by landlords to increase spending on affordable housing.

Ministers believe the changes are necessary to address the problem of precious social housing resources being occupied by tenants who could comfortably afford to live elsewhere.

Housing Minister Grant Shapps said: “For far too long, millions of people on waiting lists have watched helplessly as high-earning social tenants continue to occupy homes designed to help the most vulnerable. These high-income tenants are not only blocking homes that could benefit those in greater housing need, they’re also relying on poorer taxpayers to subsidise their lifestyle.

“A lazy consensus about the use of social housing has left landlords powerless to deal with this problem. So we want to call time on this blatant unfairness and these handouts to the very rich. Proposals I’ve announced today will give landlords the option to charge high-earning social tenants a fair level of rent – so if they want to continue using this precious national resource, they will pay for the privilege.”

Source: UK Build

Complex rent laws bar 1/3 of apartments from rent increases

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June 7, 2012

No Eviction After Renter Didn’t Pay for 9 Years

By 

The state’s highest court ruled on Thursday that a Brooklyn loft tenant who has not paid rent since 2003 could not be evicted because the landlord had not brought the building up to residential standards.

The ruling by the State Court of Appeals could affect tenants in some buildings covered by the 1982 Loft Law, which has allowed hundreds of former manufacturing or commercial buildings to be rented to tenants as long as the landlords make necessary changes, namely in fire protection and other safety measures, to bring them up to residential building codes.

The tenant, Margaret Maugenest, has lived and worked as an artist in her Gowanus loft at 280 Nevins Street since 1984. According to her lawyer, Margaret B. Sandercock, Ms. Maugenest began withholding rent in 2003 because of maintenance, fire and safety issues. That rent, Ms. Sandercock said, was under $600 per month.

In 2008, the building owner, Chazon L.L.C., sued to evict Ms. Maugenest for nonpayment, and two lower courts ruled in Chazon’s favor. But on Thursday, the appeals court said that because Chazon had missed deadlines for bringing the building up to residential code, and did not receive an extension from the city’s Loft Board, state law prohibited it from evicting tenants, even for nonpayment.

“In the absence of compliance, the law’s command is quite clear,” said the decision, written by Judge Robert S. Smith. Continue reading

Cherry Hill tenants fear rent control is at risk

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CHERRY HILL — Township council has taken a first step toward changing Cherry Hill’s approach to rent control.

Council members last week gave initial approval to a measure that would amend the existing rent-control ordinance. The change, if approved on second reading, would institute “permanent vacancy decontrol,” as opposed to the current “vacancy decontrol.”

Township officials say the move is not intended to abolish rent control, but tenants fear that will happen.

Under the current provision, a landlord can increase the rent to market rate on a unit that became vacant. However, any future increases would fall within the rent-control ordinance.

With the proposed change, future rents on a vacated unit would no longer be subject to rent control and the landlord would be free to adjust the rent annually.

“While considering this amendment, it was important to the township administration that current tenants under rent control remain protected by the rent-control ordinance,” said Erin Gill, Cherry Hill’s director of policy, planning and programs.

“Rent control has been a contentious issue in Cherry Hill for years,” Gill said. “Tenants cite dilapidated building and lack of proper maintenance, while landlords plead for increases to cover the costs to run and properly maintain their buildings.”
Continue reading

College Park braces for rent control renewal battle

The Washington Post

By Holly Nunn, Wednesday, May 23, 10:54 AM

Kathy Bryant said last week that she would have liked to sit on her back porch and enjoy the sunshine, but as often happens in her Old Town College Park neighborhood, the University of Maryland students who live in one of the neighboring houses were throwing a loud party.

“We just want a nice, quiet neighborhood,” said Bryant, president of the Old Town College Park Civic Association.

College Park officials — seeking, in part, to cut down on the number of student rental properties in the city — passed a rent-control ordinance to cap rents for rental homes in 2005, which is set to expire in September. The ordinance remained unenforced until it was upheld in court in 2010, after a challenge from individual property owners.

The looming deadline is renewing the debate between the city and landlords about how to make College Park a more livable place for both students and residents like Bryant.

The rent stabilization law was “passed for two reasons,” Mayor Andrew Fellows said, “to keep students from being ripped off, and second, to protect our community, to protect housing for families who want to live and raise their children in College Park,” because investors looking to profit off the student population would be less inclined to buy homes. “These objectives argue for having a local regulatory measure.”

Over the next two months, council members plan to debate the law, with a new ordinance expected to be introduced at a June 12 council meeting with a possible vote on July 10, city officials said.

The Prince George’s Property Owners Association, a coalition of landlords in the College Park area, have been the most vocal opponents of the ordinance, because it caps the amount of money they can charge to rent their homes. Continue reading

Rent Control changes game for landlords

Santa Monica Daily Press

 

Rent Control changes game for landlords
Rents could rise by $26 a month

by Ashley Archibald

May 12, 2012

CITY HALL — Tenants could see their rents increase by 1.54 percent, or $26 a month, under a new formula approved by the Rent Control Board Thursday that landlords are calling “black magic.”

The new formula effectively lowers the annual increase by basing it on a higher average rent than in the past, which Rent Control officials say better reflects how much renters are paying as well as how much landlord’s are making in profit.

Landlords, however, believe the proposal is retaliation for a lawsuit they won last year that forced the rent increase higher than what Rent Control officials put to the board.

Last year’s increase was 3.2 percent for all those in rent-controlled apartments.

“They’re coming up with a way to take back increases that we are entitled to under the [city] charter,” said Wes Wellman of the Action Apartment Association, which represents landlords in Santa Monica.

The new formula used to calculate the annual general adjustment, the maximum percentage by which landlords can raise rents under law, is based on the median cost of a controlled apartment in Santa Monica, which is $1,395 a month.

That $1,395 is cut into “slices” that represent the costs landlords pay to keep up an apartment. Some of those slices, like property taxes and business license fees, are fixed.

Others, like labor and cash flow, which in most cases is profit for the owner, are percentages of rent.

If they hadn’t made the switch, the calculation would have used a base rent of $829.45 — the average rent when rent control first came into effect in 1979, which was $300, plus the approved annual rent increases across the last 30 years. Continue reading

Rent control in College Park to remain after city reject landlords’ petition

Gazette.net

Council to determine next steps at Tuesday worksession

by Holly Nunn, Staff Writer
Friday, April 27, 2012

A landlord association’s attempt to stop College Park from distinguishing between rental and resident-owned housing has hit a roadblock, leaving the city able to enforce rental controls that landlords and some residents say hurt the area’s housing market and deter renting.

Lisa Miller, president of the Prince George’s Property Owners Association, which submitted petitions signed by about 10,000 residents to amend the city charter, said the group is consulting with lawyers to determine what to do next after city attorney Suellen Ferguson ruled the documents invalid.

“I’m not surprised that the city is doing this, but I think it’s unconscionable that they’re disenfranchising thousands of citizens this way,” Miller said.

College Park’s rent-control law applies to single-family homes, duplexes, triplexes and quadraplexes — but not to apartments, hotels, fraternities and sororities — and was enacted in 2005 to protect tenants from unwarranted rent increases.

Landlords of single-family homes, duplexes, triplexes and quadraplexes can charge no more than the Housing and Urban Development D.C. Metro Area fair market value of $2,522 per building; or the documented rent in 2005; or 0.6 percent of the assessment value of the home for single-family homes; or 1 percent of the value for multi-family dwellings, whichever value is highest.

Opponents of the law say that it decreases home values for all property owners because potential homebuyers are less likely to buy if they cannot cover their costs by renting, especially in an area with a significant student population. Continue reading

Supreme Court disappoints landlords, rejects rent-control challenge

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New York City's rent-control ordinance limits the rents of more than a million apartments. (Mark Lennihan / Associated Press)

By David G. SavageApril 23, 2012, 8:50 a.m.

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a constitutional challenge to New York City’s famed rent-control ordinance, a post-World War II housing measure that limits the rents of more than a million apartments.

The court’s action is a setback for property-rights activists, who had hoped a more conservative court would protect landlords and a free market in rentals. For decades, critics have said rent-control laws deny property owners the right to fully profit from their investment.

The justices, four of whom grew up in New York City, turned away an appeal from James and Jeanne Harmon, who own a five-story brownstone building on West 76th Street in Manhattan. The couple says they have no choice but to rent three apartments on the upper floors for less than half of their market value.

They also say that one of their tenants can pay a $1,500-a-month mortgage on a Long Island house because he pays only $951 a month to rent a unit in Harmon’s building. Continue reading

Pacific Legal Foundation Supports Harmon Rent Control Challenge

 

Supreme Court Just Might Upset Rent Controls in 
New York City

WRITTEN BY BOB ADELMANN   
MONDAY, 26 DECEMBER 2011 22:30

When R.S. Radford, a principal attorney for the public interest law firm Pacific Legal Foundation, learned about the ruling against a property owner suffering under New York City’s rent control laws, he appealed the case to the Supreme Court. At issue in the case, Harmon v. Markus, is whether James and Jeanne Harmon, the owners of a handsome brownstone near Central Park, are entitled to relief from the city’s onerous rent control laws that force them to accept lower-than-market rents from three of their renters.

Harmon filed the original lawsuit against the chair of the Rent Guidelines Board claiming that the rent control laws violated his Fifth Amendment rights under the Constitution’s “taking” clause. (“No person shall be … deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.”) When he was denied, he appealed, claiming that he had been denied the right of due process under the 14th Amendment. The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit dismissed it out of hand, and that’s when Pacific Legal jumped in.