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What's in the plan?

Real estate in New York City is expensive, and Brooklyn is sharing the trend with the other boroughs in seeing land values escalate and with them, rents. It can seem inevitable. As people are priced out of Manhattan, they look for property that is more affordable and as Brooklyn and Queens become more in demand and gentrified, the rental prices begin to increase.

Politicians like to promote solutions, from rent control and stabilization to requiring developers to include a proportion of "affordable" or "nonmarket" units when they propose or construct any new buildings in the city. Especially if the development means the eviction of residents of older buildings that are torn down to all the development.

This game often becomes one of definitions, with developers suggesting that $2,000 a month rentals are affordable while potential tenants earning $20,000 a year can only look on in disbelief.

The latest proposal from Mayor DeBlasio received such a response from many residents of Brooklyn's Bushwick neighborhood. The problem arises when you include earnings of new residents of gentrified areas in the calculation. The new plan by the Mayor assumes a salary of $31,000 a year and would set aside 20 percent of units for these residents.

These units are projected to rent at $775 per month, which is still too high for many of Bushwick's residents. Yet local Council members predict the city will rezone the entire area based on this new plan.

This is likely to put more pressure on housing in Brooklyn and residents should be wary for landlords who attempt to force them out of buildings in hopes of selling out higher bidder. Understanding your legal rights and speaking with an attorney to protect those rights may be necessary in many cases.

Source:, "Bushwick residents: DeBlasio's new affordable housing plan still not affordable enough," Allegra Hobbs, March 21, 2016

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