Housing News Roundup: June 15, 2015
Rent Regulations on New York City Apartments Expire Today
The rent restrictions that limit how much landlords can charge for apartments in New York City will expire today because lawmakers failed to extend or modify the existing rules. Mayor Bill de Blasio criticized the situation, calling upon those affected to make their voices heard in Albany. Even though the regulations are set to expire, legislators could extend them by a few days or even for a longer period to cover the time need for legislators to vote on the laws. The Metropolitan Housing Council has warned that confusion about the law’s expiration may open the door to exploitation of tenants in rent-regulated units.
Source: The New York Times
Can Green Space Eliminate Urban Class Divides?
Rich Mitchell, a professor at the University of Glasgow, wants to know whether neighborhood green space can narrow the health gaps between people of different incomes and backgrounds. Research already shows that health outcomes vary greatly by location, even when places are in close proximity. What if public space could help fill in those gaps? Researchers examined data from the 2012 European Quality of Life Survey and discovered that some health gaps narrowed in areas with more green space and community areas. While the research is in its infancy, it does support the idea that environmental spaces can play a part in reducing health inequality across the nation.
New Orleans Public Housing Still Incomplete 10 Years After Katrina
Four years ago, the Obama administration targeted New Orleans’ Iberville-Treme area — adjacent to the French Quarter — for a major transformation through a Choice Neighborhoods grant. The plan called for 2,314 apartments, including 821 public housing units and many other below-market apartments, to be constructed in 54 months, as well as other anti-poverty measures like increasing social services that connect residents with jobs. Yet the work is far from done; if construction stays at its current pace, the project will be complete in 2026. HUD spokesperson Patricia Campbell asked for patience, “HUD is working with [the Housing Authority of New Orleans] and the other Choice Neighborhoods partners to move forward as expeditiously as possible, but it is not unreasonable to expect delays in the process, given its complexity.”
Source: Next City
Cleveland Takes Count of Abandoned Properties
Western Reserve Land Conservancy’s Thriving Communities Initiative is conducting a large-scale survey of Cleveland to identify how many properties are vacant, distressed or abandoned. Eight surveyors are traveling through every street in the city throughout the summer and taking notes on all buildings–both residential and commercial–that appear distressed, vacant or abandoned. The survey data, which will also include pictures, will be combined into one database and used to help city officials target their demolition, consolidation and rehabilitation efforts. Current estimates of abandoned properties in the city range from 8,000 to 15,000.
California Supreme Court Rules In Favor of Inclusionary Zoning
The California Supreme Court came to a decision today that preserves the ability of cities to enact inclusionary zoning by requiring developers to include a certain percentage of affordable housing in new projects. The case originated in 2010, when San Jose attempted to require that new residential developments sell 15% of their units below the market rate. Developers argued that the order was unconstitutional; the California Building Industry Association legally challenged it, arguing that such a requirement should only be in force if the city demonstrates that market-rate housing will bring negative impacts. City officials believe the law is needed to deal with the region’s lack of affordable housing.