Bed-Stuy building owners wait for market rebound

Advocates for the homeless have found that Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn “has the highest density per square mile of vacant property buildings and lots” in New York City.

The Brooklyn Ink is reporting that building owners are engaging in the practice of “warehousing,” which involves owners “sitting” on empty properties until housing prices go up for a more profitable sale.

From The Brooklyn Ink:

Such buildings are like a plague on a community. They run down surrounding property values by being unattractive and making the neighborhood feel dangerous.

Some are foreclosed homes awaiting buyers, a result of the ongoing real estate crisis. But others are the result of a more controversial practice called “warehousing,” in which the owners are merely sitting on the property, waiting, usually for years, for an opportunistic sale at a steep price when someone really needs or wants the property.

Many factors have contributed to warehousing. One is that New York’s rent laws strongly protect the renter, even when they don’t pay the rent. The amount of rent a landlord can charge is also often regulated. Some of the oldest buildings are subject to stringent rent control laws, while many of those built between February 1947 and January 1974 come under more flexible but still limiting rent stabilization. The rent on many New York City apartments is thus less than market prices.

Specializing in tenant and landlord court disputes, attorney Serge Joseph said owners often just do not want to deal with tenants as a result. “Some landlords do not want to be restricted,” he said. A building owner can just decide to pay taxes and avoid the tenant headache, he said.

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