NEW YORK (PIX11) — New York City leaders held a rally and oversight hearing on rent-stabilized vacant and neglected units.  

Housing advocates said government agencies have to revamp and speed up the city’s system of placing people in affordable housing. But the city said the solution is creating more affordable housing, and the state needs to help. 

According to city data, only 2,500 low-cost rent-stabilized apartments need repairs that have been vacant for a year or more. Housing advocates said they believe the number may be higher. 

Councilmembers Gale Brewer and Carlina Rivera are co-sponsoring a bill they said would allow New Yorkers to call 311 to report vacant apartments and cut through the red tape to fill them faster.

Heads off the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development testified in front of the council Tuesday afternoon to talk about vacancies and what’s called warehousing, when a landlord may be keeping the apartments vacant to combine them or may be waiting in the hopes that rent regulation laws shift in their favor.  

The latest numbers from HPD are from the New York City housing and vacancy survey in 2021, which showed 45,000 rent-stabilized apartments were available. The city said that number represents less than 5% of the over one million rent-stabilized apartments.

Lucy Joffe, the assistant commissioner for housing, said the solution is creating more housing. 

According to the state, there are approximately 40,000 vacant rent-stabilized apartments in New York City for the 2022 registration year.  

Right now, HPD is in the field conducting a new vacancy survey. Those findings will be released next year.

PIX11 News reached out to HPD, and they said:

“Every unavailable low-cost rent-stabilized apartment in need of repairs represents a potential home for New Yorkers, but based on our most recent data, only about 2,500 of these homes exist. HPD is working actively to make those units available and give New Yorkers the keys, but the fact is that the city has more than 95,000 people in our care and a severe housing shortage, particularly amongst low-cost units. We’ve been clear that to truly meet the urgency and scale of the city’s housing crisis, Albany must take action to give the city the tools to create the housing New Yorkers desperately need, and we are urging our partners in the City Council to join us in that call.” 

HPD Spokesperson