Some tenants see big rent increases as affordable housing program expires

Local News

NEW YORK — Rents are jumping for some tenants who have been living in affordable housing.

Programs were created by the state in the 1970s to encourage building. Developers and property owners received property tax breaks.

Those tax breaks expire at various times in the future — in some cases, it could be decades later. 

Sometimes, the increased costs are passed on to tenants. 

Several residents at Normandie Court on East 96th Street and Second Avenue in Manhattan say they may have to move because of repeated rent increases. 

“We are being forced out,” said Yma Rodriguez-Thoma. 

Ron Davis has lived in the building for 32 years. Many of the people are long-term neighbors. 

“For the last five years, we’ve been getting 10% rent increases each year. It has gone up fast, and it’s unaffordable to keep,” he said. 

“Let’s do something about this. Don’t push us out. We are hard working people,” said Stephen Kramer.

Ogden CAP Properties manages Normandie Court and four additional locations in Manhattan. 

A representative responded to PIX11 via an email and sent a copy of a letter to residents about a rent relief program based on income. 

“We are well aware of the affordability challenges a number of our tenants are confronting. As a result, we have proactively worked with numerous tenants at Normandie Court who have experienced hardship paying their rent.  We have especially made ourselves available to our long-term tenants in the expired Moderate Income Program. As we understand that paying rent may present challenges for certain tenants, several years ago we voluntarily established our own Rent Relief program for former Moderate Income tenants, based on clearly disclosed income eligibility requirements, in an effort to maintain the affordability of Normandie Court. We have invited, and continue to welcome, individual former Moderate Income Program tenants to meet with the managing agent to demonstrate financial need, based upon either the impact of market-based rent increases or, more recently, COVID-19, and will continue to do so, so that our tenants can discuss their financial affairs directly and privately.”

Some of the tenants have said the managers get to decide the parameters of the program. 

They’re also appealing to the owners of the property, the Milstein Family, through an online petition

Diane Chu is a teacher who has lived in the complex for more than two decades. 

“This time I need someone to help me,” she said. 

Elected officials who represent the area have been contacted. 

Steven Heller is a housing attorney with Manhattan Legal Services. 

“The homes that have been affordable are suddenly out of reach. People should read riders in documents and pay attention to rent regulated status of apartments,” he said. 

Leaders in Albany have been discussing the future of the abatement programs for years. 

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