New York City’s Rent-Stabilized Properties Struggle with Shortfalls

Rent payments trail national averages, while commercial payments at mixed-use properties are faring considerably worse, an owners’ group reports.
Image via Multi-Housing News

A survey from a New York City-based landlord group found that owners of rent-stabilized buildings are experiencing significant shortfalls in residential and commercial rent as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

According to a survey from the Community Housing Improvement Program, an association that represents close to 4,000 owners of rent-stabilized properties, residential rental income is down roughly 20 percent behind expected returns this month, with respondents reporting 82 percent of payments received in May. For commercial spaces within those same buildings, owners reported receiving just 34 percent of rental payments.  


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CHIP Executive Director Jay Martin said in prepared remarks that “hundreds” of buildings in New York City—the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S.—are now operating at a loss due to the health crisis, and that the survey results underscore the need for more legislation at the federal level.

“Unless the federal government steps in to help renters and owners in a big way, we are going to see a housing disaster the likes of which we have never seen,” said Martin, who called for officials to target relief to low-income renters and small owners who are facing mounting monthly expenses.

The data comes from a survey of owners and operators of more than 100,000 units of rent-stabilized housing, according to CHIP. Taken between May 13 and May 18, the properties represented included a mix of small property owners with less than 50 units and larger property owners with more than 1,000 units.

“Unless the federal government steps in to help renters and owners in a big way, we are going to see a housing disaster the likes of which we have never seen,” said Martin.

The survey offers a different perspective from recent reports that have focused solely on rental payments at market-rate properties. In the most recent data report from the National Multifamily Housing Council, full or partial rental payments across the U.S. reached about 88 percent. However, the data was pulled from 11.4 million units owned and operated by larger, institutional landlords and doesn’t include smaller owners, affordable or subsidized properties.

Multifamily industry leaders have continued to push for more rent relief measures from Congress. In the latest stimulus bill, the HEROES Act, legislators included a $100 billion emergency rental relief fund. The bill has passed the House but has not yet been taken up by the Senate.