3. Require one-to-one replacement of affordable housing
Preserving and Creating Affordable Housing > Recommendations

Even with anti-harassment provisions in place, New York’s Rent Stabilization Code will not shield tenants from eviction due to demolition. Developers must only demonstrate credible building plans and adequate financing to satisfy DHCR (Division of Housing and Community Renewal, a State agency) in such applications. The condition of the existing building and the fate of displaced tenants do not meaningfully factor into DHCR decisions. In most cases, relocation requirements within the demolition statute are not stringent enough to deter demolition nor are they enough to protect tenants. DHCR requires owners to relocate displaced tenants to a nearby area into a suitable apartment with a comparable regulated rent and pay moving expenses for displaced tenants in addition to a $5,000 stipend.

 

Housing Affordability in Gowanus

 

To protect against the loss of affordable units, a one-to-one replacement provision would impact developers whose actions directly result in the loss of rent-regulated or subsidized housing, either through conversion of properties to condominiums or through demolition. A precedent in Arlington, Virginia accomplishes this goal through a zoning overlay and calculates bedrooms (instead of units) as the basis for replacement.1)Fifth Avenue Committee, Getting a Fair Exchange, 23.Such a provision is most appropriate in strong housing markets like Gowanus, where there is virtually no market incentive to preserve affordable units. In addition to protecting units, a one-to-one replacement provision must also protect tenants, ensuring adequate relocation requirements equivalent to those required for rent-controlled tenants. This “one-to-one replacement provision” must be in addition to the “mandatory inclusionary zoning” requirements outlined below.

 

Rent-stabilized housing on Union Street Credit: Pratt Center
Rent-stabilized housing on Union Street
Photo Credit: Pratt Center

 

 

References   [ + ]

1. Fifth Avenue Committee, Getting a Fair Exchange, 23.