When was the last time you heard of a landlord agreeing to lower rents? Right, not since our entire economic system teetered on the brink of utter collapse. Things have changed a bit since 2008, and now Mayor de Blasio is trying to achieve a rent-reduction miracle as he works to keep the homeless sheltered in private buildings without pushing other renters out.
Last summer, as WNYC reported, the city was paying landlords above market price to house the homeless when the shelter system became filled to capacity. Seeing they could make more money being paid by the government for homeless renters, landlords began pushing out regular tenants.
This summer, de Blasio is attempting to rectify this by cutting the rent the city pays for landlords to house the homeless. Currently, the city pays on average $3,027 per unit per month, with $2,078 going to the landlord. The city wants to cut their monthly pay by about 10%, but of course landlords will not be having that.
The city gave groups until today to respond if their current landlords would comply with the cuts. The Times reports that "so far one group has agreed to accept lower rates, and the city is still in discussion with several others."
Now de Blasio is facing a situation inverted from last summer's conundrum: With rent cuts from the city, landlords are threatening to push out the homeless. The apartments are in low income communities, and the residents themselves are aware that the government is paying far too much (WNYC noted the apartments were in deplorable shape, and one non-homeless tenant was paying just $700/month).
These potential rent cuts are only the beginning—the government intends to make increasing cuts over time. Should they be able to make these initial reductions, they will save $15 million.