Mayor Landlord

The Story

Mayor de Blasio says that it’s unfair to compare the housing conditions of NYCHA residents — who have had terrible experiences this winter with faulty heating systems — with those of residents living in private, for-profit units. Public housing is for working and low-income people, the mayor says, while those living in for-profit buildings are mostly well-to-do. The mayor is not only way off in his description of private-housing residents, whose incomes range across the spectrum; his conception of the profit motive also ironically points up the failures of public housing.

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. Everyone: The private, for-profit rental market houses the majority of New Yorkers renting their houses, including millions of poor people. Read more.

  2. Marginal: By setting rents as a percentage of income, public housing authorities effectively punish people for working harder and making more money. Read more.

  3. Freeze: Although private landlords are not allowed to let basic services lapse, as NYCHA does, the city has allowed only tiny or zero increases on regulated rents over the last four years. Read more.

“Building owners in New York City are legally obligated to provide heat and hot water for their tenants. This right applies equally to NYCHA tenants and those in private housing.”

Lucy Newman, Legal Aid Society

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

Subsidizing Discrimination at Starrett City By Howard Husock (Winter 1992)

“How government subsidies fostered racial discrimination at a Brooklyn housing complex.”

And in other news...

“Mayor Bill de Blasio’s decision to pay school-bus workers seniority benefits that are not part of their contract is going to cost taxpayers $136 million — and a city lawmaker is calling for an investigation.”