New York Times: Behind New York’s housing crisis: Weakened laws and fragmented regulation

New York Times, May 20, 2018: Behind New York’s Housing Crisis: Weakened Laws and Fragmented Regulation

These apartments — seen as the scourge of landlords and the salvation of struggling New Yorkers — are at the center of a housing crisis that has swelled the ranks of the homeless and threatens to squeeze all but the affluent from ever-wider swaths of the city. But even as Mayor Bill de Blasio has made adding more affordable housing a signature pledge of his administration, the system that protects the city’s roughly one million regulated apartments is profoundly broken, a New York Times investigation has found.

In neighborhoods already gentrified or in the throes of gentrifying, a relatively new class of mega-landlords has driven up rents by exploiting enforcement gaps in a web of city and state agencies. By churning through enough tenants and claiming enough renovations, landlords can raise the rent enough — beyond $2,733.75 a month — to wrest an apartment from regulation’s grip and into the free market.

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