In a policy shift that could help New York City retain its existing supply of affordable housing, the state will allow owners of hundreds of mixed-income rental buildings to sell most of their apartments as long as they permanently preserve their low-income rentals or increase their number.
The new policy guidelines apply to existing rental buildings that participate in government programs offering subsidies such as bond financing and tax breaks to property owners who set 20 percent of apartments aside for low-income households.
The affordability restrictions on these buildings typically expire after a fixed period, often 30 years or more. At that point, many owners convert their properties to condominiums and co-ops and the affordable units are lost.
The owners of many rental buildings in New York want to take advantage of a booming real estate market and sell their units, but cannot do so while the affordability restrictions on their buildings are in effect, officials and real estate industry representatives said.
Now, under a change made by the New York state attorney general’s office that is to take effect on Friday, landlords will be allowed to sell their market-rate rentals — or up to 80 percent of an individual building — in exchange for preserving or expanding the number of low-income apartments they own. Market-rate renters would be the first to be offered the option to buy their units, officials said, and those who choose not to buy would be protected by existing rules from being forced out.
Any partial conversion plan requires the approval of city and state housing agencies, and the specific terms of the apartment sales would still have to be negotiated between owners and the agencies. But officials with the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio said that before approving any sales the city would require owners to commit to making at least 20 percent of their units permanently affordable.
The agencies that oversee the programs — the state’s Housing Finance Agency and the city’s Housing Development Corporation and Department of Housing Preservation and Development — have collectively agreed to require the same general conditions, the attorney general’s office said.
I thought this nutshell explanation of how gentrification happens was also interesting. And for good measure, here's Letitia James' 2014 slumlord list.