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With Rent Laws Set to Expire, New York City Tenants Demand State of Emergency


With Rent Laws Set to Expire, New York City Tenants Demand State of Emergency

Alex Ellefson

Housing advocates urged New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare a state of emergency if regulations protecting almost 1 million affordable apartments are allowed to expire. Lawmakers in Albany have only four days to renew the rent laws and tenant rights groups called on Cuomo to accept nothing less from the state legislature than an overhaul of the current rules.


There was a report released down in the USA that calculated the minimum wage, premised on a 40 hour work week needed in every State of the Union for a person to be able to afford a two bedroom apartment.

The average was a little over 19 dollars an hour. This is much more than is the minimum wage and is in fact higher then the median wage in the USA. The lowest rent was in the State of Arkansas and that was 12.95 per hour. Remember that in the jackass system called the market as homes rise in value and or wages remain stagnant more people need to rent and the more people renting the higher rent goes. In other words the more poor people the more they pay for being poor.

That is just dumb.


Capitalists are poverty pimps.


That will be a mess if it goes down according to Establishment plans. Whatever lower middle class folks and working poor who have been living there for many years will be booted out forthwith. Those who have service industry jobs will move, if they are among the fortunate few who can find affordable places to live, will have to struggle with learning if and how they can affordably transport themselves daily back and forth to their low paying jobs.

I know how they feel. I lived in San Francisco in a rent controlled apartment for 37 years and every two years without fail the landlords would get a bill overturning rent control on the ballot. Fortunately in SF renters outnumber landlords in the electorate by a large margin and rent control withstood all attempts to overturn it. How long that will continue to be true is anybody’s guess. My guess would be not long and what I understand is that even neighborhood thought to be “bad” are experiencing gentrification driven rent hikes.

When all decisions about everything are money based (and terms like “values” and “the bottom line” demonstrate that even language shows that that is becoming increasingly true) the quantity of homeless people will start to spike real soon.


Providing taxpayer funded financial support to those who need it for housing needs would be better than controlling rents. Rent subsidy vouchers. It would allow those who are willing to rent to those with vouchers to do so, and allow those who do not to option out of participating. You can gain mobility, similar to not having health insurance tied to a particular job. A sudden shut off of rent control would only create chaos for both landlords and renters, that is why vacancy decontrol and other similar concepts need to continue. You allow the rental ecosystem to slowly move toward 100% open market. The voucher system takes care of those who financially need it, but the market is free to adjust. The NY City rental housing "emergency’ has been going on for over 70 years. That is not an “emergency”. It is a symptom of a failed idea, rent control, being misused to attempt to solve temporary family financial problems. Other cities without rent control have vacancy rates above the 5% threshold that NY City rent control laws say will lead to the elimination of rent control in NY City. You have created a circular system that keeps the vacancy rates below 5% by limiting the return on investment that many potential rental housing builders need. A phase out of rent control would probably lead to rental housing markets that look more like other large cities. More movement of renters as prices change, but enough vacancies to accomodate that movement.



I haven’t tried to plot it, but just looking around at how things are set up, the nature of the system as a wealth-pump for the rich could hardly be more clear. Like that excellent “Capitalism’s Pyramid” first published around 1900 and recently updated, a graphic showing the “Snakes And Ladders” nature of the system would be quite powerful.


I think you’d have to provide a cogent argument for why that would be better than simply nationalising mutifamily housing and making use of housing a benefit of citizenship, like the use of roads. Why should anyone have the right to become wealthy on the public purse? How does keeping someone rich benefit the rest of us?


Cabrini Green and Stateway Gardens provide the prefect examples of government run and owned housing. Two criminal infested high rise public housing complexes that were economic disasters for Chicago, Cook County, the State of Illinois, and the USA Federal government. That is why the housing needs to be private property, but the subsidies can come from the taxpayers. You cannot have the owner be the regulator in most cases. Conflict of interest. The government is not going to do housing correctly when it is the regulator of quality and has to pay to build and operate it.

Road usage is mostly temporary by any one individual or business. The use of private roads is quite acceptable. There does come to be a problem of traffic jams as users have to navigate a tangle of toll booths, thus the idea of common public use roads makes some sense compared to the alternative of widespread private ownership.

“Why should anyone have the right to become wealthy on the public purse?”
Because they provide needed goods and services more efficiently than a government owned business could.


Not really. If you insist that they do, then you have to account for military housing, which is maintained to a much higher standard than slumlord properties, of which there are many as I know from my own experience.

Except that all the evidence says that they don’t. Charter schools cherry-pick, internet speeds are the worst in the world, our medical care is worse than Cuba’s, et very lengthy cetera.


You are forgetting the bad days of military housing back in the 1970s and 1980s. A lot of military members live off base now on the open market.Some military housing was converted to a long term private lease managed by private companies. In some places it worked well, in other places it did not.

Charter schools are a mess, but that is becasue the liberals and conservatives who supported them never intended to provide vouchers large enough so that ALL children had substantial market influence.

The internet problem could be partially solved with local loop unbundling of DSL lines and getting rid of the excessive restrictions on public utilities and utilty coops providing FTTH.

The medical care provided in Cuba is not anywhere close to what we can provide, Its a bunch of smoke and mirrors with a hide the pea aspect. We have a system that does not allocate the resources we have in an equitable manner, but that can be solved if we can create significantly subsidized affordable health insurance options. We screwed up by not including the Medicare for All option in the ACA marketplaces.


Your responses are doctrinaire, based on unsupported assertions and, in the case of medical care, comparing what Cuba does provide to what the US could provide but doesn’t, except to the rich.

And as long as the greedy rich own politicians, “we” will always screw up by not providing tax-paid medical care.

That’s the general problem: greed. Capitalism, like all feudalisms, is greed reified, a pathology. It is not possible to cure a pathology by feeding it. “Sufficient subsidies” always prove insufficient quite quickly.