Mayor Bill de Blasio managed to include one new proposal in the preliminary budget he released on Thursday—a pilot program to bring illegal basement apartments above-board.
The mayor revealed his latest plan to tally more living spaces toward his affordable-housing goals during a press conference at City Hall. It calls for the city to expend $5.7 million to bring existing underground apartments in Brooklyn’s East New York section up to code while keeping their rents below market rate.
“We’ve got to keep looking for new ways still to create and preserve affordable housing,” the mayor said. “We have to prove the model first, and we’re going to do that in East New York.”
The mayor estimated that the program, if successful in the impoverished enclave, could let him take credit for creating or preserving 5,000 more apartments citywide. This would appear to encompass about 11% of the current number of basement units, which a 2002 survey put at 45,000 across the five boroughs.
The number one reason landlords install illegal apartments in their basements/cellars is greed. They want the extra tax free income. Another legal unit could mean a change in income tax bracket and the DOF tax assessment also changes. I'm all for people living in safer environments, but this initiative does not jibe with the reasons why illegal apartments exist.