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Vacant apartments in New York City?

Developing and maintaining affordable housing in the New York City area is a long-standing problem. The metropolitan NYC area has only limited open, undeveloped land. When a real estate developer does find a location, they want to maximize their return on their investment by constructing as large a building as possible and charging the greatest permissible rent.

In such an environment, it is difficult to imagine existing buildings sitting vacant. Why would anyone leave a building empty when it could be generating rents? In some cases, the landlord is the city and according to one report, there could be nearly a thousand empty units.

The city acquired as many as 100,000 units in the 1970s when it attempted to force owners to pay delinquent taxes. Many instead abandoned their buildings. The city then worked to turn these building into low-income co-ops, as part of the Tenant Interim Lease (TIL) program.

Unfortunately, the Department of Housing and Preservation (HPD) program may not have provided sufficient assistance to these tenants to allow them to successfully mature into a functioning association, which meant many failed.

With many of the buildings, there are challenges with a lot of repairs and renovations needed. And getting that work done is equally complex. As one man noted, "someone's got to work with the banks on the financing, work with the city, hire an architect and engineers, do a scope of work, bid out the work, oversee the construction."

There is little straightforward or simple when it comes to finding, renting, keeping maintained, and dealing with other rental disputes involving apartments in NYC. There are many rules that need to be followed and other issues and it is always a good idea to seek assistance with legal issues that could make your situation even more difficult.


Source:, "Why Are Hundreds Of Affordable NYC Apartments Vacant?" Emma Whitford, March 9, 2016

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