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Now Is the Time to End Rent Control — Without Risking Big Rent Hikes

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Now Is the Time to End Rent Control — Without Risking Big Rent Hikes

New York Post May 27, 2020
Urban PolicyHousingNYC

The tragic spike in unemployment has prompted a state moratorium on housing evictions and even calls from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others for rent “cancellation.”

But the activist left might be in for quite the surprise. New York’s response to COVID-19 and the fallout from the lockdowns could lead to a very different housing policy change: a rollback of the state’s draconian rent-regulation laws.

It would be salutary, too: Ending the laws’ stranglehold on the city’s housing could be key to helping revive the post-pandemic Gotham.

Rent-stabilization laws have always been predicated on a housing “emergency,” defined as when the city’s vacancy rate drops below 5 percent. We don’t yet know what effect the crisis will have on the citywide rate, but there is good reason to wonder whether it has increased, as New Yorkers reportedly have begun a significant exodus from the Big Apple.

Three recent studies, including one coauthored by Manhattan ­Institute Adjunct Fellow Arpit Gupta of New York University, reach similar conclusions: Between 4 and 5-plus percent of the city’s population has headed for the ­exits. That’s more than 400,000 people. They have predominantly come from the city’s most affluent neighborhoods in Manhattan and brownstone Brooklyn, but even in lower-income areas, 1 to 2 percent have headed elsewhere.

Continue reading the entire piece here at the New York Post

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Howard Husock is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, where he directs the Tocqueville Project, and author of the new book, Who Killed Civil Society?

Photo by James Andrews/iStock

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