ProPublica

Journalism in the Public Interest

The Rent Racket

Owners are getting $100 million in property tax breaks while violating the law requiring them to officially register, and city and state officials are unable to explain why. More »

Tens of thousands of New Yorkers are moving into newer rent-stabilized apartments. Many are paying ‘preferential’ rents that tenant advocates say invite abuse by landlords. More »

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De Blasio Says ‘Enough is Enough’: Landlords Getting Big Tax Break Must Cap Rent Hikes

The mayor’s statement, publicizing a crackdown on owners of more than 3,000 rental buildings, is his sharpest critique yet of enforcement lapses benefiting scofflaw property owners.

NYC To Put 3,000 Landlords On Notice: Comply With Law or Lose Tax Benefits

Reversing years of lax scrutiny, officials are seeking to enforce rent protections tied to the city’s single biggest housing subsidy.

NYC Lawmakers Push For Audits of Landlords Who Pocket $1.4 Billion Tax Break

Legislation introduced in City Council on Wednesday would require the city’s housing arm to audit 20 percent of buildings receiving the benefit. Violators would have to return the money.

Thousands of NYC Landlords Who Ignored Rent Caps Got Tax Breaks They Didn’t Qualify For

Two-thirds of more than 6,000 rental properties receiving tax benefits from the city’s 421-a program don’t have approved applications on file and most haven’t registered apartments for rent stabilization as required by law. That allows owners to raise rents as much as they want.

If You Live In These Tax-Subsidized Buildings, You Are Entitled to a Rent Freeze

Search for your building to see if your landlord has been approved for the program and registered your building for rent stabilization, as required by law. If not, you may be paying more than you should.

Dozens of New York Officials Support Tenants’ Lawsuit Over Rent Stabilization

Tenants have sued a Lower Manhattan developer, saying their leases should have been rent-stabilized in exchange for the tax breaks their landlord received. State and local officials have now filed a brief supporting the tenants, whose case could affect thousands of rental units.

What’s The Rent? NYC Housing Officials Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

The city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development is flouting a rent-reporting requirement for apartments built under the city’s single biggest housing tax break. Mayor Bill de Blasio doesn’t seem to mind.

This Is What New York’s ‘Voluntary Compliance’ For Landlords Looks Like

Tenants overcharged by landlords who received property tax breaks shouldn’t expect much help from state regulators. Many are opting to go to court and, so far, they are winning big.

New York Isn’t Telling Tenants They May Be Protected From Big Rent Hikes

Due to an error by state officials, rent limits on tens of thousands of New York City apartments were improperly removed. Now, 20 years later, the state is relying on landlords to fix that problem. What could go wrong?

Meet the NYC Tax Break That Could Save You From Eviction Or A Big Rent Hike

A property tax benefit known as J-51 can mean the difference between a rent freeze and a sharp increase. Here is how to find out if your building qualifies.

Two Decades Later, Democrats Say Giuliani Was Wrong About Rent Limits

Since 1995, developers in lower Manhattan have relied on a letter written by former Mayor Giuliani to justify receiving tax breaks without rent restrictions. Former lawmakers who wrote and voted for the law say the practice violates the intent and clear meaning of the statute.

How Rudy Giuliani Helped Landlords Get a Tax Break With No Strings Attached

New York’s state Legislature wanted to give developers hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks to build apartments in Lower Manhattan in exchange for limits on rent increases. The real estate lobby and Mayor Rudy Giuliani had another idea.

Brooklyn Officials Ask State to Investigate Rent Overcharges

A request to the Tenant Protection Unit cites ProPublica’s reporting on a tax-subsidized building owned by Two Trees Management.

3 Things Mayor de Blasio and AG Schneiderman Didn’t Say About Housing Enforcement

New York leaders have been quick to celebrate enforcement achievements to protect rent-stabilized units but haven’t put them in context.

Rent Limits Just a Fiction for Thousands of NYC Tenants, Records Disclose

Among other facts, newly released housing documents reveal that 239,000 regulated apartments have “preferential” rent, meaning landlords may be able to boost rents by more than what the city allows.

Is Your Doorman Getting Underpaid? Here’s How to Find Out.

Workers at big NYC apartment buildings that get a tax subsidy are supposed to be paid a prevailing wage set by the city comptroller. But they don’t always know it – and that can cost them.

NYC’s Prevailing Wage Apartment Buildings

New York City biggest housing subsidy shells out $1.1 billion a year in property tax breaks to apartment and condo building owners. In return, they’re supposed to pay doormen, janitors and other service workers the “prevailing wage.” City officials provided this list of prevailing wage buildings aft

NYC Housing Official Pans Rent Reforms As ‘Waste’

City Council members want a new system and fines to be sure that landlords are complying with rent limits at up to 200,000 unregistered apartments.

NYC May Actually Crack Down on Developers Who Cheat Taxpayers and Renters

The head of the city’s housing department has laid out steps to boost oversight of tax breaks for developers and other programs overseen by the agency.

Renter Beware: Ten Ways Unscrupulous Landlords Cheat NYC Tenants

Here are the top 10 ways unscrupulous landlords take advantage of tenants, and what you can do about it.

NY Lawmakers Want Stiffer Penalties for Landlords Who Ignore Rent Limits

A bill introduced in response to ProPublica’s reporting would make landlords liable for up to 10 times the amount of overcharges imposed on tenants in rent-stabilized apartments.

NY State Data Indicates Even More Landlords Duck Rent Limits

As many as 200,000 New York City apartments could be missing from rent regulation as required by law, according to figures released by the state’s housing agency.

NYC Lets Luxury Building Owners Stiff Workers and Still Get a Tax Break

City regulators haven’t enforced a 2007 law that requires doormen, janitors and other service workers at taxpayer-subsidized apartment buildings to be paid wages comparable to union rates.

NYC Bill Targets Landlords Who Get Tax Breaks, Duck Rent Limits

City Council members propose inventory system and fines for landlords after ProPublica reports that 50,000 apartments aren’t registered for rent regulation as required.

Tenants Take the Hit as New York Fails to Police Huge Housing Tax Break

Top developer Two Trees Management overcharged renters for years – but still cashed in on $10 million in tax cuts the city never officially approved.

Help Us Investigate New York City Rents by Texting Us

We’ve made it even easier to participate in this investigation. All you need is a cell phone.

Landlords to Pay $5 Million for Dodging Rent Laws

State, city officials target buildings receiving lucrative property tax breaks in return for limiting rents.

Landlords Fail To List 50,000 N.Y.C. Apartments for Rent Limits

Owners are getting $100 million in property tax breaks while violating the law requiring them to officially register, and city and state officials are unable to explain why.

N.Y.C. Landlords Flout Rent Limits — But Still Rake In Lucrative Tax Breaks

Help ProPublica and WNYC investigate how renters are being exploited under a housing program that will save developers $1 billion in property taxes this year.

Are You Paying Too Much Rent? What You Need to Know About Rent Limits

Tens of thousands of New Yorkers are moving into newer rent-stabilized apartments. Many are paying ‘preferential’ rents that tenant advocates say invite abuse by landlords.

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