Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Against J-51 Renewal; For Tenant Protections

Twenty-eight NYS Legislators have opposed the extension of J-51, a program that gives $257 million in tax breaks to landlords for making major buildings improvements that could better be spent for other affordable housing needs.
The J-51 program results in $257 million that the State does not get - and that could  fund

Owners can get tax breaks through the federal government for such improvements and owners of rent stabilized apartments can get "Major Capital Improvement" rent increases.

While J-51 can be good for regulated tenants temporarily - by ensuring that no apartment can be taken out of rent regulation while the benefits last (a period of years) - landlords usually end up getting "Major Capital Improvement" increases from tenants for those same improvements, even though the current law provides that 50% of the J-51 value should be applied to reduce MCIs.  Apartments should be protected through other legislation.

S.5673, the Senate bill, claims it will provide "relief" to landlords who unlawfully (but in good faith) deregulated apartments in buildings that received J-51 benefits.  Its main beneficiaries, though, are landlords who have overcharged tenants in a way that would have been illegal even if the Roberts case had never been decided.