Photo: Jason Devaun/Flickr
Since the 1990s, there has been a consensus among housing experts that there over one million rent-stabilized apartments in New York City. But data provided to ProPublica through a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request showed only 839,797 rent-stabilized apartments registered with the state.
That number comes from the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR), which oversees rent-stabilized apartments throughout New York state. In 2014, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development estimated 1,029,918 units, a difference of nearly 200,000.
That would mean many city apartments are not rent stabilized when they legally should be. If this is the case, tenants are at risk for illegal evictions and rent overcharges.
Back in November, ProPublica reported that nearly 50,000 landlords failed to register apartments for rent limits, illegally receiving $100 million in property tax breaks. In its investigation, it called on Governor Cuomo to enact stricter reforms than outlined in an earlier initiative.
Urban activists and city officials have made many steps to address the issue, but progress is measured.
Last July, John Krauss, a self-proclaimed hacker and mapper, created a tool that maps the changes that have occurred in rent-controlled apartments since 2007. Using property tax bills, he was able to identify thousands of buildings that show a decline in stabilized apartments as well as buildings with unregistered landlords.
Mayor de Blasio and the city council also passed a number of reforms to protect and promote affordable housing. Legislature was enacted to protect tenants from unscrupulous landlords with aggressive buyout practices, and the mayor committed $12.3 million to build city agencies that fight for tenants facing wrongful eviction to prevent homelessness.
Curious about your own apartment or building? The New York City Rent Guidelines Board offers a tool to help tenants discover whether they’re living in a rent-regulated unit, and they could even help retrieve rent overages already paid to landlords.