Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Too much focus on rent regulation?
From the NY Times:
Of the city’s 1,063,000 rent-regulated units, approximately 41,000 are in the hands of households making $150,000 a year or more. If we hired private investigators to examine the ranks of those households, we would surely find egregious abuses of the system — unmarried lawyers making $350,000 salaries — but we would presumably also find families of five living on less than half of that. (And it hardly bears remarking that $175,000 in New York City is not the same as $175,000 in Jackson, Miss.)
Moreover, according to the city data, approximately 240,000 rent-controlled and rent-stabilized units are occupied by those making $15,000 or less a year.
What a fixation with rent regulation often does is deflect our attention from other policies and economic perversions that keep New York City’s housing from being affordable to a broad stretch of its population. More than half of New Yorkers, whether they are in rent-stabilized apartments or those priced at market rates, spend above 30 percent of their income on rent, according to the Furman Center; 25 percent to 30 percent has long been the guideline. Nearly a third of those in rent-stabilized apartments are paying more than 50 percent in rent.