On the heels of another politically-motivated rent freeze, RSA and other industry groups called out Mayor Bill de Blasio for not providing any relief for property owners.
After the City Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) all but guaranteed another historic rent freeze during the Preliminary Vote on May 5th, RSA, the Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP), and the Council of New York Cooperatives and Condominiums (CNYC) demanded that the Mayor freeze property taxes.
The City Department of Finance (DOF) issued tentative property tax assessments in January and thousands of building owners filed challenges to their assessments by the March 1st deadline. However, as the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic began to intensify, the City Tax Commission did not follow up with hearing dates for these property owners to make their cases against their increased assessments.
With the July 1st due date for tax payments quickly approaching and Mayor de Blasio and other State and City elected officials disregarding much-needed aid for building owners, RSA, CHIP, and CNYC all argued that a property tax freeze was warranted for the following reasons:
1. COVID-19 has exhausted any reserve funds building owners may have had. Furthermore, for rental property owners in particular, with residential and commercial tenants not paying or falling behind in rent for the last two months, it is irresponsible to assume that owners can pay a property tax increase.
2. Commercial rent collections have plummeted and for some, are non-existent as non-essential business continue to remain closed. Even when businesses reopen, services will be extremely limited for weeks or months and it will take several months to years before returning to pre-pandemic levels.
3. Owners of all types of properties are having difficulties keeping up with emergency repairs and necessary maintenance during the ongoing pandemic. Building staff are deemed essential workers and are working around the clock to ensure that there are sanitary conditions throughout buildings. This does not include expenses generated by local laws, such as one that requires façade repairs and lead paint and mold and allergen removal.
It is no secret that property taxes paid by building owners inject billions of dollars into the City budget that pay for critical City services such as education, police, fire department and much more. However, with increased tax payments due by next month, Mayor de Blasio continues to satisfy his political agenda by pushing for a rent freeze and other radical pro-tenant proposals that will severely hurt building owners instead of providing relief for all affected New Yorkers.
As we went to press, we did not have any updates with regard to a response from the City. However, we will continue to make property tax freezes a priority throughout the month of June and will keep our members posted on any major developments via email blast, social media and the RSA Reporter.