Most city landlords fail to register rental properties

The Real Deal
Compliance seen as key in crises, such as hurricanes
January 15, 2013

The vast majority of landlords fail to meet a city requirement to register themselves as the owner of rental properties. That can result in a dearth of information that is essential in planning for crises, a new report from NYU’s Furman Center for Real Estate & Urban Policy shows.

Using data from the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, the report found that only 23 percent of rental properties are registered with the city, and only 61 percent of the city’s renters live in buildings with current registrations. Constant contact with landlords is essential, the report found, especially in emergencies such as Hurricane Sandy.

“With over two-thirds of all New York residents living in rental housing, ensuring reliable communication with landlords during emergencies could be critical to effective emergency response,” said Furman Center Director Vicki Been.

Noncompliance is far more common among buildings with four units or fewer; among single- and dual-unit buildings, the compliance rate is only 2.1 percent. In contrast, in buildings with 50 units or more, 85 percent of landlords are registered with the city. Penalties for noncompliance include a fine of between $250 and $500. Noncompliant owners are also barred from using the courts to evict their tenants for nonpayment of rent during the period of noncompliance.

The report calls for the city to increase outreach and education about the importance of registration.- Hiten Samtani