Testimony: Rent Justice, Now More Than Ever

Samuel SteinKate Ham

Before the New York City Rent Guidelines Board

 

Thank you for the opportunity to speak with the board about the crisis facing tenants today – a crisis with long reaching roots, 在这前所未有的大流行之年,这些问题严重恶化, recession, 并呼吁在整个社会中实现更大的种族和经济平等.

Our names are Samuel Stein and Kate Ham, 我们是纽约社区服务协会的住房政策研究员. 王者炸金花App is an independent nonprofit organization that addresses some of the most urgent problems facing low-income New Yorkers, 包括该市长期住房危机的影响. Since 2002, 王者炸金花App has administered our annual “Unheard Third” survey to document the hardships of low-income New Yorkers, including rent-regulated tenants.[1]

The guidelines this board enacts are some of the most important factors that determine the stability and well-being of low-income New Yorkers.[2] About 365,000户低收入家庭居住在租金稳定的住房, the most of any other housing type and roughly double the number who live in public and subsidized housing. 76 percent identify as Black, Hispanic, Asian, or Other, and nearly half are immigrant households.[3]

除了我们城市的住房危机,纽约还面临着历史性的失业率. 在2020年,失业率一度达到近20%. Over the course of 2020, employment declined 11 percent, or 516,600 jobs, 这就好像一年内几乎整个亚特兰大市都失去了工作. Meanwhile, real wages fell 1.8 percent, while consumer prices rose 1.7 percent.[4] In other words, the cost of living in New York got more expensive as the pandemic and related recession plummeted workers into under-employment and unemployment and pushed renters into an even deeper affordability crisis. 在这种情况下,租户根本负担不起更多的租金.

According to pre-pandemic ACS data, 近年来,租金负担总体上缓慢下降, 72%的低收入租户在过去7年里一直背负着房租负担, and the proportion of low-income renters paying a majority of their income in rent has risen to nearly 50 percent. 我们知道,自疫情以来,低收入租户和有色人种的情况更糟. As the Household Pulse Survey shows, throughout the pandemic lower-income renters in the New York Metro area have consistently had greater housing insecurity than higher-income renters by as much as 44 percentage points.[5] The survey also shows how Black and Latinx tenant households have consistently had little to no confidence making their rent at much higher rates than White tenant households since August, by as much as 45 percent higher for Black tenants and 46 percent higher for Latinx tenants (see chart below).[6] Clearly, low-income tenants have not been sharing equally in the gains of their higher-income neighbors.

Indeed, we know that 2020 brought an astonishing scale of hardships to rent stabilized tenants. 王者炸金花App’s annual Unheard Third survey was fielded in July 2020 and was thus able to capture some of these dynamics in ways that, 与2021年收入和负担能力研究的调查不同, 能否区分稳定租户和不受监管租户.

Some of our key findings include:

  • 2020年,42%的租金管制租户报告收入减少. 30 percent lost their jobs altogether.
  • 72 percent of rent stabilized tenants who permanently lost their jobs during the pandemic reported receiving no rent relief from their landlord, 要么是降低租金,要么是推迟租金.
  • 40%受租金管制的租户表示拖欠租金, 包括大多数(52%)低收入租户.
  • 38%的租金管制租户报告存款不足1000美元.
  • 44%的受租金管制租户表示,他们被列为“必要工作者”, 包括46%的低收入租户.
  • 76 percent of rent regulated tenants reported being on pre-pandemic public assistance programs, compared to 56 percent of unregulated tenants.[7]
  • The percentage of tenants who were able to receive Covid-related federal aid (such as stimulus checks and enhanced unemployment) was 10 percentage points lower for rent regulated tenants than for unregulated tenants. It is worth noting that, 该市三分之一的移民居住在租金管制的住房中, a significant percentage were unable to access federal relief programs due to immigration status.
  • 36 percent of rent regulated tenants reported having problems with their landlord in the past year. Notably, this is much higher than unregulated tenants, and that itself is a departure from previous years. In 2017, there was just a two percentage point difference between regulated and unregulated tenants in terms of problems with landlords; in 2020, that gap widened to 13 percentage points.[8]

这些影响在低收入社区更加严重. We know from public health data that some of the neighborhoods with the highest share of rent regulated units also had some of the highest rates of Covid-19 in the city.  For example, 在布朗克斯区的王桥高地(Kingsbridge Heights), 92%的租金都是受租金管制的, 九分之一的租金管制居民也感染了新冠肺炎. 在曼哈顿北部的华盛顿高地(Washington Heights), 87%的公寓受到租金管制, 1名和12名居民被感染.[9] Reductions in rent, however, 在这些受灾最严重的社区中不那么明显, and have instead been more pronounced in high-end Manhattan markets that escaped the worst outbreaks, 而且几乎只适用于新租约,而不是现有租户.[10]

Federal, 州和市的行动可能会止住一些流血, but this crisis will not be resolved quickly, and certainly not within the coming year. As the latest Income and Affordability Study notes, both the New York City Comptroller and the city’s Office of Management and Budget estimate that employment, especially for the hardest hit industries, 至少还要一年才能恢复到大流行前的就业水平.

Of course, 今年也不容易运营租金稳定型公寓, 毫无疑问,地主的代表马上就可以证明这一点. 但是房客和房东所面临的困难的规模, as well as the context of what preceded it, are in no way equivalent. 根据最新的收入和支出研究中详述的大流行前数据, rent collections across the city rose 3.3 percent, more than double the RGB guideline for that year, and Net Operating incomes (NOI) increased 2.9 percent, rising as high as 45 percent in Bushwick. 事实上,在过去15年里,NOI总体增长了14倍. While the Price Index of Operating Costs study shows some increased costs for landlords in this disastrous year, the 3.9 percent increase in property taxes – a highly weighted factor in the index – deserves some scrutiny, as it was also reported that these tax rates are expected to fall significantly in the coming year. 尽管房东声称租金冻结和2019年租金法的破坏性影响, it is clear from the pre-pandemic data that rent stabilized housing continued to be profitable.

Most importantly, while some landlords have seen rent shortfalls because tenants have lost work and been unable to pay rent, the state and federal governments have budgeted enough funds to cover the entire total estimated gap – an unprecedented amount of rent relief which is ultimately geared toward making landlords whole. As outlined in the state’s new rent relief program, 收到这笔资金的房东必须冻结下一年的租金. Any 2021 RGB rent increase, then, would not apply to those landlords, 转而适用于那些拒绝大量援助的房东, 或者是那些房客支付了去年全部租金的人. The RGB should not create any financial incentives for landlords to opt out of the rent relief program, 它也不应该只奖励那些在大流行期间表现最好的房东.

This has been a year like no other. 现在比以往任何时候,获得住房意味着获得生活本身. Meanwhile, employment has diminished, disappeared, 或者对大多数租金稳定的租户来说是危险的. For tenants to recover – and for the city itself to recover – we cannot conscience an increase in rents before either the pandemic or employment have meaningfully improved. Given these findings, 我们鼓励租金指导委员会拒绝任何形式的提高租金的呼吁, and instead to either freeze rents or go farther. If there is any time to consider a rent rollback, it is now, 在大萧条以来最严重的经济衰退期间. The life of the city depends on it.

 

Footnotes

1. 2020年Unheard Third调查是与Lake Research Partners合作设计的, 是谁通过电话和专业面试官进行调查的. It was conducted from July 7 through August 4, 2020, and reached a total of 1,632 New York City residents, ages 18 or older. The sample included 1,002名低收入居民(达到联邦贫困标准的200%), or FPL), 630名中等及高收入居民(FPL超过200%). The data were weighted slightly by income level, gender, region, age, party identification, education, immigrant status, and race to ensure that it accurately reflects the demographic configuration of these populations. 访谈用英语(1475)、西班牙语(90)和汉语(67)进行。. The margin of error for the entire survey is +/- 2.42 percent, for the low-income component is +/- 3.09%,高收入部分是+/- 3.9%,都在95%的置信区间.

2. 王者炸金花App将低收入家庭定义为收入低于联邦贫困线两倍的家庭, or about $43,000 for a family of three.

3. 王者炸金花App分析2017年纽约市房屋空置调查

4. 2021 Income and Affordability Study

5. 2021 Income and Affordability Study

6. 王者炸金花App analysis of the Household Pulse Survey. Not confident indicates the respondent has little or no confidence in paying their rent next month or has already deferred.

7. 公共援助项目包括:(1)公共援助, welfare, or family or safety net assistance, (2) Medicaid or the Essential Plan for yourself, (3) Medicaid or Child Health Plus for your children, (3) food stamps or SNAP, (4) SSI/SSD, and (5) Medicare.

8. Landlord problems include: (1) Repeated efforts by your landlord to pay you to move out of your apartment; (2) Long delays in making necessary repairs; (3) Had the heat or hot water cut off; and (4) Problems caused by prolonged construction like excessive debris, dust, and blocked entrances.

9. Most likely the real rates are much higher, 但这些比率反映了社区地区的检测结果. New York City Coronavirus Map and Case Count. (2021). New York Times. Retrieved April 25, 2021, from http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/nyregion/new-york-city-coronavirus-cases.html

10. Iverac, M. (2021, February 18). 报告:纽约大范围的租金下跌并没有对重要工作人员产生多大影响. Gothamist. http://gothamist.com/news/report-pandemic-rent-dip-nyc-hasnt-made-much-difference-essential-workers

 

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