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NYC Had 88,830 Vacant Rent-Stabilized Apartments Last Year, City Housing Agency Estimates

(THE CITY)  SAM RABIYAH  OCT 20, 2022

Tens of thousands of vacant rent-stabilized apartments landlords reported to New York State in 2021 likely understates the true number that are empty. 

That’s the contention of officials at the city’s housing agency, who shared with THE CITY previously unreleased figures that show 88,830 stabilized apartments were vacant in 2021 — far more than the 61,000 tallied by the state.

The city Department of Housing Preservation and Development based its estimate on survey data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau last year. HPD calculated in its 2021 Housing and Vacancy Survey analysis that New York City has 1 million stabilized units in all, mostly in buildings constructed before 1974 or those built more recently with tax subsidies.

That’s roughly 1 in 10 rent-stabilized apartments.

The estimate, shared with THE CITY by HPD’s chief researcher, was not included in the “Selected Initial Findings” report based on the same data, which HPD presented to the City Council in May. 

HPD Chief Research Officer Lyz Gaumer said the higher estimate of vacant rent-stabilized apartments includes not only the 42,860 units deemed “unavailable” in the selected findings report, but also tens of thousands more the Census Bureau deemed “available for rent.” 

This could include apartments that are currently for rent on the market — but also ones that landlords choose to keep off the market but that are otherwise habitable. 

Either category could potentially include units landlords are warehousing, says Gaumer — who added that she considers these numbers to be “a very conservative estimate of the entire warehoused apartment universe.”

Department spokesperson Jeremy House said HPD’s numbers are more accurate than the state’s because they rely on a methodology that includes phone calls and door-knocking by Census Bureau reps.

Source: The City