This past year has been an interesting one in New York State government. In a ridiculous moment, the New York State Legislature — now a progressively run majority — voted in new laws to support tenants in all types of rental situations, drawing tremendous alarm from real-estate landlords, in particular in New York City, who got hit with extreme measures to curtail rent increases in all rentals larger than four-family units.
Though we all appreciate fairness in how rental tenants should be treated, these new measures were not really thought out in a practical and fair manner, and it is obvious that the activists among those voting these new laws into place were concerned with giving relief to poor tenants no matter the repercussions in financial cost to the owners of those apartments.
While I do not have to advocate for large apartment house owners who can take care of themselves and figure out how to handle what this crew has thrown on them, who is going to advocate for those small-building owners who cannot afford the restrictions that are now being imposed on them? How are they going to fix up their rental units or implement upgrades when they are not going to be allowed by law to charge more rent to cover their repairs or upgrades, even when renting to a new tenant after the old one leaves?
These small-building owners cannot carry these frozen rentals and expenses that put them in the red, and I am afraid we will eventually start to see abandoned buildings, similar to what happened back in the 1990s.
The almost laughable finale that has come up this week in the news, truly mind-boggling, is that once again there’s talk about reassessing all the real estate in the five boroughs and rectifying the assessments based on the current market value of a property as opposed to the existing tax on the property, which usually is the same as when a building was built, even if that was in the 1930s.
There is definitely gross unfairness here — in the tax-assessment process presently in place in the five boroughs, and with the change of the rental tenant laws. A one-family house in Riverdale worth about a one million dollars might be paying ten times as much in taxes as a multi-family unit in Brooklyn worth five to six million dollars.
While we all agree as to the unfairness of this type of aberration, the big elephant in the room that I am waiting for all those progressive activists to notice is that the minute they reassess the taxes of all these multi-unit properties and the taxes jump — which they most certainly will do if everything is assessed based on market value — those same multi-unit owners cannot pass those extra tax costs over to their tenants any longer because of the rental tenant laws that the activists put into place.
Based on the new tenant rental laws, all those landlords must absorb the extra taxes personally if they are reassessed, heaping insult on top of injury — all in the same year!
I am waiting to see how this all plays out; I wonder how long it will take for people to wake up to the absolute idiocy of those now in charge of legislating for the good of the people.
If it were up to me, I would start warming up the tar and preparing the feathers!
Anessa Cohen lives in Cedarhurst and is a licensed real-estate broker (Anessa V Cohen Realty) and a licensed N.Y.S. loan officer (FM Home Loans) with over 20 years of experience offering full-service residential, commercial, and management real estate services as well as mortgage services. She can be reached at 516-569-5007 or via her website, www.AVCrealty.com. Readers are encouraged to send questions or comments to anessa@AVCrealty.com.