Why Johnny can’t use the new spa: Rent control and the second class apartment dweller.

This is the elephant in the room about this article complaining that some rent-controlled apartment dwellers in NYC are not getting the same amenities as full-rent payers: “In 2011, the median rent for a rent-regulated apartment in Manhattan was $1,321 a month, compared with $2,696 for a market-rate apartment, according to the Furman Center.”  This disparity has been true for decades: Section 8 Housing is sufficiently a contentious issue in residential real estate that I’m actually mildly surprised that it hasn’t sparked riots.  Or targeted assassinations.  What real estate agents do not want to say here is that this:

“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.

…is broadly accurate: it is a subtle form of harassment, and apartment building owners don’t consider rent-regulated (or rent-stabilized) apartment tenants to be as good as the tenants who pay more.  What Assemblywoman Rosenthal herself does not want to address is that the people that she’s championing are benefiting from a decades-long attempt to put strict social controls on the NYC real estate market. Or that the whole thing is profoundly unnatural.

I actually am sympathetic to the people who are watching themselves getting priced out of living in an urban area.  But city living isn’t cheap anymore, either.  Maybe if it wasn’t so blessed difficult to start up a business or build residential space in NYC, we’d see more sensible real estate prices…

2 thoughts on “Why Johnny can’t use the new spa: Rent control and the second class apartment dweller.”

  1. Charlie Rangel hardest hit. He had 4 or 5 rent controlled apartments in the same building and had to go to the Caribbean to work out.

  2. Remember also, this was a “temporary” program. Established around WWII.

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