Declaring an emergency: the City Council is introducing bills today that would declare a rent emergency in the five boroughs—based on the scarcity of vacant apartments—a pro forma and preliminary step to renew the city’s rent protections, Capital New York reports.
Indeed, city rents outpaced inflation over the past three years, according to The New York Times, which should not come as a surprise to anyone who has been living here. Median income went up 1.1 percent in the city, while median rent rose 3.4 percent, after adjusting for inflation, to $1,200 a month from 2011 to 2014, according to the paper. And “when factoring in utility costs, the median rose 4.3 percent, to $1,325.”
How does one live in 90 square feet? It really helps to “really like getting rid of stuff,” as the micro-unit dweller interviewed by Curbed does. Especially if it is one’s “favorite thing.” Living in the West Village for $775 a month sounds pretty great. But consider this: she has to share a bathroom with another tenant and “My boyfriend tried to give me a book last week, and I said, ‘No, there is no place for this.’ ”
The residential development Doug Steiner is building at the former Mary Help of Christians lot in the East Village was once slated to include 22 affordable units, but now it’s going to be all market-rate condos, according to EV Grieve. Eighty-two of them, to be precise, with a pool. Community board members, who were not thrilled with the size of the project to begin with, are reportedly quite peeved.
If you’re curious whether the building you’re about to move into has violations and complaints on file, you could check the Department of Housing Preservation and Development and DOB websites. Or for those unfamiliar with the city resources, DNAInfo reports that there’s now Apartable, which “aggregates data from city agencies detailing years of complaints, violations and building permits, as well as tax histories going back to 2009, for all of New York’s roughly 900,000 buildings.” The information is then blended with tenant reviews of buildings and landlords. One impressive modification: the site claims that it will help to expose who’s hiding behind LLCs—one of the most common problems that tenants have is finding out who their landlord is.
Speaking of bad building owners, The New York Times reports that a tower on E. 34th that received millions in affordable housing tax breaks through the 421-a program, was actually operating as an illegal hotel. The current owner, an affiliate of the CIM group, has agreed to pay $4.4 million in tax breaks back to the city, as well as $275,000 to cover the cost of a city investigation, and the hotel will cease operations March 11, but there appears to be no other penalty.
A New Orleans couple discusses how they decorated their Carroll Gardens townhouse in The New York Times: “If I were going to live in an imaginary house, I would want it to be designed by Wes Anderson,” said one-half of the couple, who admitted she sought professional decorating help after painting the walls and upholstering the furniture all in blue.
Choga, a Korean restaurant and jazz club in Greenwich Village is closing after what one of the owners called a 7-year run of not making money, DNAInfo reports. Also, the landlord wouldn’t renew the lease.