Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Bill passes to legalize basement apartments which might spur more gentrification

Image result for basement apartment new york

NY Daily News

Marlene Hernandez moved from her two-bedroom apartment in Bushwick to an illegal basement apartment in East New York two years ago out of necessity.

“I simply couldn’t afford Bushwick anymore, I had to go somewhere else,” the 29-year-old single mother of one told the Daily News. “Even if you live with a roommate, you’re paying $1,000, $1,200, to stay in a room. So I figured, why not live in a basement where I can have my own privacy?”

Some 114,000 New Yorkers live in illegal basement apartments, according to the housing advocacy groups Chhaya Community Development Corporation and the Pratt Center for Community Development.

Basement and cellar apartments must meet minimum requirements for light, air, sanitation and exits and be approved by the Department of Buildings.

A bill signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio on March 5 aims to turn illegal basement and cellar apartments into safe, legal, affordable housing, starting with a three-year pilot in East New York and Cypress Hills, Brooklyn.

But the new law has Hernandez worried. She’s paying $1,200 a month for her off-the-books place and argues that New Yorkers in her position may have to keep finding illegal apartments to keep their rent down, or face higher rents for legal apartments.

“My landlord isn’t going to lower my rent,” she said. “What incentive does he have to legalize my apartment?” she said.

The pilot program will provide $12 million in low-interest loans and grants to eligible low- to
middle-income homeowners, living in one- to three-family homes, to convert their basements into legal apartments. If successful, the city would look at expanding the program to other neighborhoods.
A report from the Citizens Housing and Planning Council (CHPC) in 2017 said such a program could add up to 38,000 housing units.

All basement apartments legalized with funds from the grants and loans will have to conform to HPD’s affordable housing rules, which cap rents at 30% of a tenant’s income. Landlords who decide to create legal basement apartments without the city’s help will not have to abide by the income cap.

“If they legalize basement homes, landlords can just take advantage,” Hernandez said. “They know that there are people who are able and willing to pay regular apartment prices for these units.”
Jessica Katz, executive director of CHPC, acknowledged that the pilot’s pathway to legalization opens the door for landlords to raise rents. But, Katz said, the benefits of legalization outweigh the possibility of higher rents.

“There is a risk that the landlords will raise the rent,” Katz said. “We’re trying to find the right balance between bringing up the quality of those apartments and protecting the tenants, but also not scaring off tenants who have in certain ways benefited from the legal gray area that they’re living in.”

If anyone else recalls, this is where Councilman Espinal described these areas which he represents as a guinea pig for this housing plan.

I have a gut feeling that East New York and Cypress Hills are going to become "hot", "hip" and "niche" towns pretty soon.


Anonymous said...

I'd say the picture is a cellar, not a basement, judging by the lack of windows... a cellar is more than 50% below grade; doesn't meet light and exit requirements.

Anonymous said...

It says "$12 million in low-interest loans and grants to eligible low- to
middle-income homeowners, living in one- to three-family homes, to convert their basements into legal apartments."

The key word here is "eligible" meaning you also agree to make your home section 8 to get those grants. Its NOT gentrification, but "Slumification"---Once again they are feeding us shit and telling us its a meal.
Once a building goes section 8 its impossible to reverse it. A homeowner would be crazy or really desperate to take this deal. It revoke a homeowner who lives on the premises right to discriminate based on income, credit checks, credit scores etc. on real estate listings.
Have deBlasio bring your check and single mom of six "wild ones" from Guatemala to your door and destroy your house.
This is a disaster !!

Anonymous said...

Great !! More fires and overcrowding for the five borough's.

Anonymous said...

Are they going to be charged more for property taxes? If the city wants to generate money, I suggest they start looking into checking out these "two family houses" first, so they can start charging them more taxes for being more like 3 or 4 family homes. Then I would suggest they start charging more taxes to the foreigners who buy investment homes here. If the city started to regulate this stuff then perhaps home prices would go back to normal again and starter homes might actually become affordable again. But I know that's only a dream and will never fly under mayor dumbdumb.

Anonymous said...

One word: DISASTER
This is 1/2 the homes in Glendale, middle class working stiffs already being murdered with taxes. Those who will agree to section 8 to get legal with government funding to get extra $$$.
deBlasio has busted the last wall that has kept Glendale, MV and Maspeth white middle class.

Q: What happens to all those small homeowners who refuse to "partner" with the city, or refuse certain assigned tenants ??
Get called a racist, Jail and eventually seizure of property if you disagree like in Amsterdam & Sweden ?
Now rents will go even higher as the city gets more basement apartments on the books & tax rolls.

Anonymous said...

just what the official gateway to 'The Fourth World,' I mean New York City needs: More densely populated neighborhoods that have always been zoned for single family homes.

❝The Earth isn't dying. It's being killed. And, the people who are killing it have names and addresses.❞ ——Utah Phillips

❝This planet is obviously being used as an insane asylum by other planets.❞ ——George Bernard Shaw

Anonymous said...

Only 114,000? Ahem. Make that 500,000.

Anonymous said...

Okay. I turn my basement into an apartment. Can I get a 20 year tax abatement for creating a market rate apartment like some developers get?

Tony Notaro said...

Gentrification is nothing more than a slur. Remember 50 years ago when black (and brown) moved into White neighborhoods and everyone was told it was a good thing, how these homogeneous neighborhoods needed diversity to become great? Now the shoe is in the other foot. These homogenous black and brown neighborhoods need Whites for diversity...and suddenly that’s a problem. The real colors of racism in this country are black and brown

Meik said...

According to Meik Wiking, CEO of the Copenhagen-based Happiness Research Institute,
Happiness derives from both personal freedoms and social security that outweigh residents having to share living space and pay 'some of the highest taxes in the world.'

Nordic countries convert wealth into well-being, if you have living space you don't use its to be to be shared. We applaud mayor deBlasio in New York for taking this giant leap forward to help people and get more New Yorks living space on the books.
The finding on the happiness of immigrants reflects the conditions that we live in matter greatly to our quality of life, that happiness and equal wealth for all is not a matter of choice but need to be mandatory and equal for all

TommyR said...

"Landlords who decide to create legal basement apartments without the city’s help will not have to abide by the income cap."

When and if this changes, that'll be some real crap-tastic level bullshit, there.

Otherwise, landlords have rented out converted basement apartments in the City forever, so now make 'em legal/safe, and there's no real story here.

Unless the story is that people who own their private property shouldn't be able to use 'em how they want within the bounds of the law? Personally I'd rather more people choosing to rent/live in basement decently than putting up with more sky-high hi-rises...

Anonymous said...

The problem is that stable single-family-house neighborhoods are going to have to deal with basement renters, many of whom will their additional noise, garbage, cars, kids, pets. This is unacceptable. Sorry, would-be basement dwellers but many of you ruin nice neighborhoods. Some greedy homeowners will divide up their basements into spaces that aren't safe or sanitary and everyone suffers. NOT GOOD!

Anonymous said...

Not gentrification, but slums.

The laws were passed over a century ago to stop slums and disease. of course places that know about this and should say something, places of learning, like Pratt, Columbia, and NYU are saying nothing as they themselves are eating up their communities.

And the Democrats, which used to me reformers to clean up slums and protect poor people themselves have fallen to the level of Boss Tweed so they can pack in voters who 'don't know or care.'

Wait till the health stats of NYC falls off a cliff.

Anonymous said...

This will finish off the remaining single-family neighborhoods in Queens. It's a steady race to the bottom now. House as many bodies as you can, quality of life and property values be damned.

Anonymous said...

It has been my observation, based on many years of living first in apartments, then a co-op, that whenever you have people living in a building or home they could not normally afford themselves, but are living there due to being subsidized somehow, they cause problems. They simply have no clue as to how people in higher socio-economic classes behave, and what constitutes appropriate behavior in that situation. So they have noisy parties, out-of-control and numerous kids, walk up and down halls talking loudly on their phone, loud TVs, smoking, using candles when they haven't paid their electric bill, drug use, and sometimes loud and violent fights. They bring their ghetto behavior into your nice neighborhood, which you did not sign up for. By making it possible for lower class and illegals to live in nice neighborhoods by renting lower-cost basement apartments to them, neighborhood life quality goes straight to Hades. Nice that the landlord gets some extra money, not so nice for the others living in the neighborhood having to put up with what they sought to avoid by moving into that neighborhood in the first place.

Anonymous said...

To previous poster.

Remember, as far as the Democratic Part is concerned, the American Government, the American Voter, and the American Citizen is of no use or interest.

All is trumped by building the Democratic Party. Hopefully all else will wither away.

Anonymous said...

The "New York State of Mind" these days seems to be if we can't enforce it, well hell let's just legalize it, then we can brag about how crime stats are falling.

Anonymous said...

WHat about when the plumbing supplier coddled BPOA until he got everything built next to them then complained to the cops when they partied at 11pm?

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