Landlords in New York City are warning of an imminent catastrophe, as hundreds of small building owners struggle to stay afloat amid the health crisis.
In the months since the pandemic was declared, countless residents have experienced income and job losses due to the government-enforced lockdowns. Lawmakers have attempted to assist these households through rent freezes and a moratorium on evictions; however, many New Yorkers have opted to simply leave the area on a temporary or permanent basis. This, of course, has resulted in massive vacancies that have put landlords in precarious positions.
"It's really, really scary," Harlem building owner Stacey Golia told WABC-TV. "It can't just be one sided. And at this point in time, it's really one sided."
Golia said more than half of her two-bedroom units are currently vacant, suggesting remote college courses and closed campuses were a major factor in the shortage of tenants. She explained that while many renters are receiving assistance to get them through the crisis, small building owners have been left to fend for themselves.
"Even though the units are vacant right now, I'm still paying as if the entire building has been occupied," said Golia, who shells out $100,000 a year in mortgage payments and property taxes. "It's financially detrimental. There are rent pauses, there are court pauses. But there are no pauses on property taxes ... Just because you're a landlord doesn't mean you have a pot of gold sitting at the end of a rainbow."
Jimmy Silber, of the Small Property Owners of New York, echoed Golia, as he called on city officials to "restructure" the tax rates and take the pandemic's financial impact into account.
"It's going to lead to a catastrophic loss of small buildings in this city," he said. "... Building owners are not going to make it. They're not going to pay their taxes, and these buildings are going to go under."