Letter: Rent control is not the answer

As a realtor in Kingston I have serious concerns with the city’s push to enact rent control. The city is essentially saying to a subset of landlords that they no longer have property rights and must charge tenants a fixed price set by the government. In cities where rent control has been enacted it has proven time and time again to not work. Rent controls have done nothing to solve affordable housing problems in places like New York City, San Francisco and smaller towns in California. It has made the problem even worse with fewer housing units being built, and the price of rent at unregulated units skyrocket.

Another unintended consequence of rent control is that the lack of revenue for landlords can inhibit the maintenance of rent-controlled properties which can lead to more run down buildings. Also, anyone can live in a rent-controlled apartment no matter what their income is. Rent control does not guarantee that these apartments will go towards those who need help the most.

Study after study indicates that rent control does not help solve the issue of affordable housing. If the city wants to help it can start by incentivizing developers to build affordable housing. It can also look to update its zoning code to encourage development and investment.

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Nan Potter

Real estate broker, GRI

Kingston

There are 6 comments

    1. Denise

      Brent, the letter is 100% accurate and rent control – as we see in NYC, DC, San Francisco, and other cities – only achieves one end-goal: It reduces the number of housing units available, thus choking the housing supply by up an additional 30% and actually creates a more severe disparity between housing costs, thus forcing even more residents out of the local housing market.

      Rent control also chokes off new construction, further reducing the availability of housing units.
      Rent control also is proven to produces worse housing conditions for renters, as costs for utilities, insurance, and “improvements” to property make a vast

      Rent control also creates more housing insecurity and is no guarantee for residents because rent control laws are reviewed every single year by housing boards at the local and state level; each year rents DO rise, units ARE removed from the control housing stock; and the actual number of controlled housing units is reduced annually.

      So Brent, I think while you believe you know how rent control works, you actually don’t understand the
      technicalities or the realities of it; and I think your snarky comment against a local professional shows how immature you are, how disrespectful you are as you hide behind your fake screen name.

      And Brent, that attitude is why the “activist” community in Kingston who are anti-development keep revealing themselves as elites who would rather see this city choke and be paralyzed hurting all residents rather than do the one thing that keeps housing costs lower, which is to approve and build NEW HOUSING untis for ALL SOCIO-ECONOMIC LEVELS.

      Example, fighting The Kingstonian means that the people who would move into 134 New Housing units will
      instead be pushed into taking 134 Existing Housing unites off the market, pushing 134 other people out of
      housing. You see? It’s called creating available supply to meet existing demand.

      Rent Control does exactly the opposite.

  1. Phyllis

    High rents stem from the greed of owners, plain and simple. If the wages don’t rise neither should the rents. Why should a rent rise every year? There is no good reason. Certain standards of livability of housing should also apply but they do not. There is nothing to stop a landlord from increasing rent. Disallow greed. Figure out how to do that. Increase employment opportunities first by offering well paid jobs.
    It has been proven that short-term rental properties offered on bed and breakfast sites decrease housing supply and not rent control. Rent control limits the amount a landlord can increase rent. It has been the only pushback available thus far.
    You don’t have to go to school to be a landlord, maybe you should have to do so.

    1. Janice P.

      “High rents stem from the greed of owners, plain and simple.”

      This is not correct. High rent stems from the market. The housing market in this area is booming due to sustained economic growth nationwide and a very healthy economy in NY Metro area that allows investors and individuals to purchase property in this area at relatively low cost. The market functions based on profit motive. If that is greed, then the entire private sector is greed.

      “If the wages don’t rise neither should the rents.”
      Someone’s wages are clearly rising or they wouldn’t be able to buy property at ever higher costs. Should people only be able to buy property in the place they live? That seems like a good way to destroy the entire real estate sector.

      “Disallow greed. Figure out how to do that.”
      Preventing one of the seven deadly sins goes way beyond the ability of local government.

      “Increase employment opportunities first by offering well paid jobs.”
      Who are you telling to do this? The government? You can’t tell companies to offer well paid jobs. That is a function of those companies providing a good or service that people need at a price they’re willing to pay, and finding enough success that they need more employees who are have the bargaining power to demand good compensation without driving up the cost beyond what customers will pay. Unless you mean the government should be providing the jobs, which of course it can always do, but taxes are already extremely high here so that is not a good solution.

      “You don’t have to go to school to be a landlord, maybe you should have to do so.”
      To learn what exactly? How not to be greedy?

  2. Jane Crane

    I have to laugh when I see a letter from a Kingston real estate agent condemning the NYS Emergency Tenant Protection Act [ETPA] and basically seeing it as a threat, most likely to her and other real estate agents’ wallets. So let’s refresh everyone’s memories on this Act and how it will really affect Kingston.

    Under the new law, a county-appointed advisory board would have the power to impose caps on annual rent hikes for current tenants based on market conditions and other factors. The rent regulation component of the law only applies to buildings built before 1974 that have six or more units, and the law also mandates that rent regulation may only be imposed if there is a vacancy rate of less than 5 percent in eligible units. | Per HV1/Jesse J. Smith

    The rent control does NOT cover every apartment in Kingston, only a select few. It covers rentals, not real estate, (stop panicking; you’ll still get your big bite of a real estate sale.) I believe it will also affect rent increases for tenants, which are incredibly unbalanced for salaries in the area.

    Unfortunately, for renters in Kingston, a few bad apple developers (hello E&M Management – https://therealdeal.com/tristate/issues_articles/controversial-landlord-ramps-up-in-the-hudson-valley/?fbclid=IwAR0iANq-JGoJX4NU_ppQLfkHGz2gZ0KMpomfzwLpG8BWrxZc3yEiM5idF6Y) have already come up from NYC and bought several large complexes here that fit the criteria for rent regulation. So what have they done? Evicted as many tenants as possible, minimally refurbed those apartments, increased current tenant leases a whopping $300 and are now charging $1400 – $1700 / month for apartments here in little old Kingston. Where does that price lead to in five years?

    Who is expected to pay those rents? And WHY are people expected to pay rents that are as high as MORTGAGE PAYMENTS??

    Welcome to gentrified Kingston. (If I see the word “boutique” in front of a hotel or “luxury” in front of an apartment listing one more time I will gag. By the way, folks, luxury does not mean stainless steel appliances.) If this is progress and surely gentrification does feed the many greedy wallets that are supporting expensive apartments and shopping behemoths like the Kingstonian, and other snapped up real estate in Kingston, WHAT, I ask you, does that mean for people who are not making $70K a year?

    Does anyone UNDERSTAND that some people are working minimum wage jobs and still deserve a place to live? (Oh and P.S. – there will still be plenty of dough to be made with all the boutique hotels and zillions of restaurants and bars that will be cropping up in the near future. Keep in mind that the job creation here will amount to service work at minimum wage.)

    Why is living in an apartment no longer a RIGHT to longtime locals and working people in this area? WHY is Kingston not LEADING THE CHARGE for acceptance of the FULL (not watered down) version of the ETPA and showing the rest of the state that we care about our citizens and how we let landlords run our apartment complexes?

    This may not be the sixties folks, but you can still be fighting for change right in your hometown. If you believe in rights for women, for minorities, for low-income families, you need to support this act before it is too late. It has already been too late for many tenants who are now desperate for a place to live. Kingston politicians can talk and talk about creating lower income housing in the future, but that’s a long long time away and we need action NOW.

    Oh and Denise, get real. The Kingstonian is being challenged for environmental and many other reasons that the folks behind it will not address. Kingston businesses and politicians are for the Kingstonian because it brings much needed money into the area. IS THIS THE CORRECT WAY TO BRING MONEY HERE? Frankly I thought we might be more interested in bringing companies with JOBs.

    AND how do you propose we do THIS?: “rather than do the one thing that keeps housing costs lower, which is to approve and build NEW HOUSING units for ALL SOCIO-ECONOMIC LEVELS.”

    Oh and Denise, we’re talking about APARTMENTS here, not the entire housing community in the area. You’ll still be able to sell those for a million dollars or more. AND since the way we’ve BEEN handling housing in this area hasn’t exactly been working, why don’t we try something new? I’ve lived here for 20 years and I sure don’t like where Kingston is heading. There isn’t any real city planning involved, it’s pretty much a free for all now.

    Lastly Denise, referring to your comment “Rent control also is proven to produces worse housing conditions for renters,” I sure don’t know if you’re aware of the disgusting situation we’re in now with landlords who don’t live in the area, don’t respond to issues, don’t upgrade already deplorable apartments. How do I know? I lived in one before my current situation.

    PS Denise, you’re sounding pretty high and mighty yourself. Why not try putting yourself in our shoes for a bit?

    Oh and sorry for the snark but I gotta tell you, the rent situation and the new landlords have been depressing, upsetting and disheartening. I used to love this area and all I want to do is live here. I’m not sure I will even be able to in the near future. A house was always out of my reach with my single income salary.

    PLEASE Come and support us (all tenants in Kingston, NY) at this meeting:
    Kingston Rent Stabilization at Laws & Rules Committee Meeting
    at Kingston City Hall on February 19, 6:30pm

    Support the FULL ETPA Act, NOT an edited version of the act that will diminish the rights of tenants.

    NAME WITHHELD
    (Because my new landlord is known to retaliate against tenants who protest.)

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