Two separate initiatives were highlighted yesterday: one to crack down on New York slumlords and another to cut property taxes paid by New York property owners. The City Council passed a bill called the Safe Housing Act that targets landlords with multiple building code violations. It requires the Dept. of Housing Preservation and Development to target 200 buildings annually with repeated code violations and in need of emergency repairs and force their owners to make necessary corrections. If the landlord fails to do so in a timely manner, the city will have the work done itself, and then bill the building's owner. Council Speaker Christine Quinn was vehment in calling out landlords whose buildings are not up to code, saying "“I hope the message this bill sends is that if you’re a slumlord, your days are numbered. If you’re a slumlord, you’d better get your building up to code. If you don’t, we’re going to go out there and bring your building to code for you, and we’re going to charge you for it.” This seems like a good initiative. We just hope the city isn't as lax at bill collecting from deadbeat landlords as it is with deadbeat water customers, because then it sounds like taxpayers will just be paying for renovating slumlords' properties.
Mayor Bloomberg was trumpeting a separate initiative yesterday to cut property owners' taxes. City officials are looking to boost Bloomberg's intial proposed 5% tax cut, to 8% or 8.5%. The New York Post, which included a graphic of estimated property tax revenues to be collected by the city (in billions of dollars) shows that the Mayor's budget personnel think assessments and property values are going to continue to rise unabated for the next several years. Preliminary assessments rose 19% in January and building owners' taxes are rising almost as quickly. Bloomberg's goal is to keep property owners' taxes flat.
(Image from New York Post graphic)