False Construction Permits Go 'Unchecked' in New York

New York habitually lets property owners begin construction without disclosing that their buildings are rent-stabilized or occupied by tenants.
September 26, 2018, 5am PDT | Elana Eden
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Andrew tenBrink

Landlords throughout New York City have falsified more than 10,000 applications to renovate or expand their properties, according to a new report from the Housing Rights Initiative. The move is often part of a ploy to drive tenants out of rent-stabilized units so they can be replaced with market-rate, advocates explain.

The issue gained attention after Kushner Companies was fined $210,000 for the illegal practice, Politico reports. Kushner's practices also recently shed light on New York's lax enforcement of building codes.

Currently, a fine is the only penalty for applications that falsely report being unoccupied or exempt from rent stabilization; the permits are still routinely granted and construction allowed to proceed. Legislation from City Councilmember Ritchie Torres attempts to increase oversight by requiring the Buildings and Finance departments to improve their information-sharing practices.

New York has seen a net loss of nearly 150,000 rent-stabilized units since 1994, Politico notes.

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Published on Monday, September 24, 2018 in Politico
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