Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Rent-Regulated Tenants Excluded From Amenities

The New York Times recently ran a fascinating article on the growing divisions between market-rate tenants and rent-controlled tenants who occupy the same building.  In short, apartment-building-owners are adding amenities that are exclusively for the market-based tenants.  Unsurprisingly, the rent-controlled tenants are upset and feel disrespected:

When a playroom opened in Michael Reilly’s Upper West Side building two years ago, he asked the concierge for a key to the space so his toddler could play there. The concierge’s answer stunned him: It was out of bounds to him and his child.  Mr. Reilly’s building, the Windermere West End, a luxury rental, is one of several in the city that prohibit rent-regulated tenants from using new services like gyms, playrooms and rooftop gardens. Some co-op and condo buildings have similar restrictions. [...]

“It’s a subtle form of harassment. It sends a message: You’re not as good as my tenants who pay more,” said New York State Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, who introduced legislation requiring landlords to offer amenities to rent-regulated tenants. Ms. Rosenthal described Stonehenge Village as “the tipping point” in a growing problem. [...]

Developers point to rules governing rent-regulated leases as a reason for restrictions. If a developer offers a gym to a rent-regulated tenant and later decides to remove it, the landlord would have to get permission from the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, the state agency that oversees rent rules. Otherwise, tenants could be entitled to a rent reduction and reinstatement of the service.

(HT: Peter Gerhart)


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