On Tuesday, Patch news partner ProPublica published an investigative story by reporter Cezary Podkul that showed thousands of property owners (over 70+ in Harlem) New York are bilking the city and tenants out of millions of dollars.
The report focused on a tax break known as 421-a, which grants landlords millions of dollars in tax savings in exchange for a promise to limit rent increases. As the city’s single largest housing subsidy, the 421-a program costs taxpayers $1.4 billion a year.
Click here to search for your building to see if your landlord has been approved for the program and registered your building for rent stabilization, as required by law. If not, you may be paying more rent than you should.
The program has had a big, and expensive, problem: With no enforcement tools to speak of, thousands of landlords have taken the tax breaks — while failing to live up to their end of the bargain by continuing to jack up rents.
Mayor Bill de Blasio was a bit slow to address the severe enforcement lapse, according to the ProPublica report. The mayor, though, announced Tuesday that he was creating a large-scale enforcement program targeting 3,000 buildings.
ProPublica has a tool to help identify offenders. Are you paying more rent than the law allows? Click here to find out.
File photo via Mayor’s Office