Landlords Ask Mayor to Freeze NYC Property Taxes
As their financial struggles spill over into the "fourth quarter" of the COVID pandemic, building owners are now asking for a reprieve from their 2021 tax obligations.
A landlord lobbying group, known as the Rent Stabilization Association (RSA), has asked the de Blasio administration to institute a property-tax freeze, to waive all late fees and charges, and to provide owners with a monthly payment plan option -- to alleviate a lump-sum payment burden.
The requested break comes amidst a 5% decrease in property values, according to the NYC Fiscal Year 2022 assessment roll. And although their properties have taken a hit, owners are finding their assessments increasing -- a pill most find too large to swallow, particularly, now.
“Since this pandemic began nearly one year ago, there has been no real relief for property owners. State and City elected officials have turned their backs on the City’s true affordable housing providers with endless eviction moratoria, a rent freeze, no mortgage relief, and increased property taxes.” Joseph Stasburg, RSA’s president proclaimed. “This is another slap in the face to the City’s property owners. If the Mayor truly wants to help all New Yorkers, he would put a freeze on all property assessments for the upcoming fiscal year.”
While NYC has been one of most exclusive and sought-after areas in the world, the bittersweet trade-off comes in the form of the ironclad tenant protection laws that some landlords view as Draconian. For instance, the yearly annual increase guidelines for rent-stabilized apartments promulgated by the city was again frozen at 0% for the third year in a row, prohibiting owners from increasing rents and keeping some pace with inflation. In addition, the pandemic has caused rent-rolls to drop, while operating costs (like taxes) continue to rise.
Because the rent laws have certainly been abused by exploitative owners (with more fraudulent schemes being uncovered each and every year), usually few tears are shed for them. But those owners who are willing to play by the rules, and aren’t gaming the system, are reportedly suffering.
Since approximately 53% of the City’s annual tax revenue comes from the real-estate industry, owners are now standing up and demanding that a bone (or two) be tossed their way. If granted, the property tax freeze might be the saving grace for thousands of owners (and tenants) whose wallets are already drained.