Mayoral frontrunner Eric Adams said he would not support a rent freeze for the city’s 1 million rent-regulated apartments because many small-time landlords across the five boroughs wouldn’t be able to afford the lost income.
“The greatest wealth of black and brown people in this city is in their property,” Adams said Friday when asked by a reporter about the issue at a Brooklyn campaign event.
“So when we start making these decisions on small property owners we need to factor that in because if we’re not going to freeze mortgage payments for those small property owners. If we’re not going to roll back their mortgage payments, then we need to be careful.
“Those who are idealistic about this issue, they must be realistic because Ms. Jones at 80 years old trying to pay her mortgage, if you start talking about freezing her rent, you start talking about rolling back, you start talking about no rent, she’s going to lose her home,” Adams said.
“And you’re going to see the greatest loss of wealth for black, brown immigrant people in this city and that is a problem for me,” Adams said.
The Rent Guidelines Board, the panel that sets the rates for rent-regulated apartments, implemented a one-year freeze last year through Sept. 30, 2021, at the behest of Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The board is set to vote on rent increases for leases starting in October later this month. There have been three rent freezes under de Blasio’s watch.
De Blasio argued last year that renters faced unprecedented hardship during the pandemic– but landlords counter the rent revenue is needed to operate their buildings.
At a virtual real estate forum Friday morning Adams advocating equalizing the city’s property tax system so lower and middle income residents aren’t paying disproportionate amounts.
Adams also said at the Real Estate Board of New York forum that he fears the city is backsliding into the 1990s when crime and homelessness were rampant.
“We have lost the quality of life that we expect,” Adams said.
“I’m watching what’s happening in Portland, I’m watching what’s happening in San Francisco,” he said referring to their street homeless problems.
“We may think it could never happen here but it can,” Adams said.