Gentrification fueling eviction crisis in New York City

 

Gentrification fueling eviction crisis in New York City

By
Steve Light

6 January 2018

The continued large number of eviction cases in New York City is an expression of the widening social inequality in the home of Wall Street. There is a strong correlation between the number of evictions and census tracts with high rates of deep poverty according to a report by Community Services Society of New York.

The inflation of rents that occurred first mainly in Manhattan has forced people into the outer boroughs of the city that are in turn facing rising rents due to gentrification. Almost half of the rental apartments in New York City are rent stabilized, which keeps rent increases lower than current market rates. There are about 990,000 stabilized units, with 2.6 million people living in them. However, since 2007, at least 172,000 apartments have been deregulated.

Although the rate of evictions in New York City had gone up each year from 2005 to 2015, there was a decrease of 18 percent in the number of cases resulting in immediate eviction—from 26,857 in 2014 to 21,988 in 2016, according to Housing Court Answers, a non-profit organization providing aid to tenants in housing court. This dip resulted chiefly from a program fought for by advocates for years to provide lawyers for low-income tenants facing eviction cases. Where ninety percent of landlords had attorneys in housing court, only ten percent of tenants did.

However, despite the dip, there are a growing number of evictions in poor neighborhoods that have been undergoing gentrification. Pro-landlord provisions in the Rent Stabilization Law, like the twenty percent bonus that a landlord can add to the rent upon vacancy, contribute to tenant harassment in neighborhoods with rising rents. The City’s Independent Budget…

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