I Love Livin' in the City

The New York Times reveals that my old Congressman, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), is one of the many wealthy New Yorkers hoarding a rent-stabilized apartment. Four of them, in fact, all located in Harlem's coveted Lenox Terrace building on 135th Street between Fifth and Lenox Avenues. From the Times's report:

State officials and city housing experts said in interviews that while the law does not bar tenants from having more than one rent-stabilized apartment, they knew of no one else with four of them. Others suggested that the arrangement undermines the purpose of rent regulation.

The fourth apartment, by the way, a 10th floor one-bedroom for which Rangel is paying just $630 a month (he also has a two-bedroom, a one-bedroom, and a studio on the 16th floor), is serving as his campaign office, a pretty clear violation of state and city laws mandating that rent-stabilized apartments serve as a tenant's primary residence. Then there's this:

Some Congressional ethics experts, while saying it appears legitimate for Mr. Rangel to have one rent-stabilized apartment, question whether his acceptance of the additional units may violate the House of Representatives' ban on members' accepting gifts of more than $100. They suggest that the difference between what Mr. Rangel pays for the second, third and fourth apartments and what a new market-rate tenant would pay—some $30,000 annually—could be considered a gift because it is given at the discretion of the landlord and it is not generally available to the public.

Whole sordid story here. Nick Gillespie on Califorinia's rent control laws here. The Cato Institute's William Tucker on how rent control drives out affordable housing here.

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  • ||

    Can anyone reconcile these two statements for me?

    while the law does not bar tenants from having more than one rent-stabilized apartment

    and

    a pretty clear violation of state and city laws mandating that rent-stabilized apartments serve as a tenant's primary residence

  • ||

    R C Dean -
    I thought the same thing

  • tarran||

  • ||

    Wow, isn't this a complicated one.
    Let's give it a shot:

    1. I do not think that it should be illegal for Mr. Rangel to rent those apartments at those prices, even if it's considered a campaign gift.
    2. I do not agree with the concept of rent control
    3. Mr. Rangel is still a dishonest scumbag who is using federal money to name new buildings after himself (I'm sure other congresspeople do this - on the state level, Joe Bruno, the State Senate Majority Leader, is famous for having a bust of himself in the Albany airport and a baseball stadium named after him)

  • Guy Montag||

    I am waiting for our wacky Leftie friends to begin their defense of rent control stabilization right here on this thread.

    Mr. Root, thank you for noting the Party affiliation of the Representative from New York.

  • Taktix®||

    Odds that anything will actually be done about this?

    Yeah, that's what I thought...

  • ||

    While its great to get a rent controlled apartment, essentially those who can't get one are subsidizing those who can. Yet another reason I will never move to NYC.

  • Episiarch||

    Charlie Rangel, corrupt? It's un-possible!

    He will not get in one tiny little bit of real trouble for this, and will probably hand off the extra apartments to family.

  • ||

    Rep. Charles Rangel was one of the most despicable and corrupt congressmen of his time. He needs the Dan Rostenkowski treatment.

  • Untermensch||

    Rep. Charles Rangel was one of the most despicable and corrupt congressmen of his time.



    I don't know about that. It's not like there's no competition for those slots. He's probably beat out by the Senior Senator and the congressman from my home state of Alaska.

  • Episiarch||

    Rep. Charles Rangel was one of the most despicable and corrupt congressmen of his time

    Was? Is.

  • ed||

    Can anyone reconcile these two statements for me?

    Being a two-faced pandering whore, I should think just two rent-controlled apartments would suffice for the millionaire Rangel. Maybe the other two are for each of his ass-cheeks, conveniently located for nocturnal smooches from his adoring serfs.

  • Rhywun||

    I am waiting for our wacky Leftie friends to begin their defense



    Well, I'm lefty-er than some around here, so I'll give it a stab.
    ...
    Uh... I got nothin'.

    He will not get in one tiny little bit of real trouble for this



    I think he may. Rent regulations are only popular among those that have them. The rest of "the people" despise it. Let's just see what The Post makes of the story.

  • Rimfax||

    Egad, NYC engaging in Old World style elite-worship, favor granting, and "prosecutorial discretion"?! Say it ain't so!

  • Episiarch||

    I think he may. Rent regulations are only popular among those that have them. The rest of "the people" despise it. Let's just see what The Post makes of the story.

    Nothing at the Post yet. You know that, at worst, he will just hand the apartments off to family or cronies. It doesn't matter that rent control is only popular with those who have it; big pols in NYC don't get in trouble over stuff like this.

  • ||

    @ Rhywun:

    take a look at the comments on the NYT website. Its pretty pathetic. People will do anything to convince themselves of the fairytale that their "leaders" have their best interests in mind.

  • Rhywun||

    > big pols in NYC don't get in trouble over stuff like this

    Typically, no. But this is pretty big, and an issue that hits home to millions of New Yorkers. And it's in the *Times*, even.

    Oh, and you can't just "hand them off" to relatives. Not unless he bribes the owner to do so.

  • robc||

    Epi,

    If he hands the apts off to family/friends, doesnt that end the rent control?

  • robc||

    Oh, and you can't just "hand them off" to relatives.

    Nevermind my last post, Rhywun verified it for me.

  • Episiarch||

    I was never a rent control parasite, so I am not really familiar with the exact rules regarding it.

  • Eric S.||

    R.C. Dean

    I suspect the law is silent regarding the first statement. Thus, where the law states a rent control apartment must serve as a primary residence, it is implied that one may not own two or more apartments. The first statement is then technically correct.

  • Guy Montag||

    Perhaps the fine Representative, the last I know of to propose slavery as a means to reduce the cost and expand the size of the US military, is just doing his duty as a public servant to evaluate the quality of the rent stabilization system in New York with an eye to impliment it for our society as a whole?

  • ed||

    Hmmm...nationwide rent control? If it's good enough for NYC, why not me?

  • ||

    Charl1e Rangal is a hypocritical self serving money grubbing asshole?

    Say it ain't so, Joe.

  • ||

    Check, Eric. It sounds like the other three apartments should be kicked out of the rent control regime. Whether the person violating the law is the tenant or the landlord I guess is a question of just how the statute is written.

  • EJM||

    I take it that Mr. Root is a fan of Fear.

    (reference explained here)

  • ||

    Rep. Charles Rangel was one of the most despicable and corrupt congressmen of his time.

    I don't know about that. It's not like there's no competition for those slots. He's probably beat out by the Senior Senator and the congressman from my home state of Alaska.


    See the ex-Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-California, and Rep. William Jefferson, D-Louisiana, for the frontrunners in the congressional corruption competition.

  • ||

    It seems to me that the case is that Rangel's landlord would be free to raise the rent on at least three of four of the congressman's apartment and have not exercised their option. That's the key to this claim: Some Congressional ethics experts, while saying it appears legitimate for Mr. Rangel to have one rent-stabilized apartment, question whether his acceptance of the additional units may violate the House of Representatives' ban on members' accepting gifts of more than $100

    I don't think there is any law against renting an apartment that would qualify under rent control guidelines even if it's not your primary residence. My understanding is that in that case, the landlord would be free to charge market rate for the apartment.

    I think Rangel's occupancy of all four apartments is described as "hoarding" because if he were not living their, the apartments would be subject to rent control guidelines and would be rented to other tenants under those restrictions.

  • Guy Montag||

    Oh, why must you folks be so cynical? I am sure there is a perfectly reasonable explaination, like the one I mentioned above.

    You would not expect the government to give something to all of us that the top leaders have not already tested on themselves, right?

    Like universal healthcare, free check kiting, fantastic vehicle lease deals and now subsidised luxury housing.

    I suspect that we need to see how this all plays out so we don't jump to conclusions.

  • LarryA||

    could be considered a gift because it is given at the discretion of the landlord and it is not generally available to the public.

    Somehow I have a problem with the idea that rent control is "at the discretion of the landlord." As opposed to going to jail?

    In this case, of course, the landlord has the option of outing his Congressman, which carries a bit of poltical risk.

    a pretty clear violation of state and city laws mandating that rent-stabilized apartments serve as a tenant's primary residence

    I suppose he'd have a case if his family was big enough to need five bedrooms.

  • ||

    Do mine eyes fail me, or is the title a Danko Jones reference?

  • Guy Montag||

    I suppose he'd have a case if his family was big enough to need five bedrooms.

    Yea, and that campaign office is taking up one of them so he may need another apartment now.

  • Colin||

    If someone had the guts to really investigate this guy, they'd find a whole lot worse than this.

    But it wouldn't matter -- he could shoot someone in Times Square at broad daylight and still be reelected.

  • Democratic Libertarian||

    Charlie Rangel is one of the staunchest supporters of the War on Drugs and has called for a return of the military draft.He is a Republican in all but party name. I'm sure he would switch if they let African-Americans in the RepubliKKKan Party.

  • Guy Montag||

    Colin,

    Oh, come now, he is an esteemed member of the federal legislature. I am sure the ethics comittee will look into this in its usual unbiased manner.

  • Guy Montag||

    DL,

    What Republican proposed a draft after Nixon got the Congress to end it?

  • ||

    Somehow I have a problem with the idea that rent control is "at the discretion of the landlord." As opposed to going to jail?

    Larry, I think what this means is the landlord is not required by law to give Rangel rent-control rates on three of the apartments, because he does not meet the "primary residency" rule on those apartments. Landlords are legally required to charge rent control rates to tenants who qualify and may, at their discretion, offer them to tenants who do not.

    Also, I don't think landlords go to jail when the don't follow rent-control guidelines. Typcially, they are forced to pay tenants for amounts charged over the guidelines.

  • ||

    Is having a get worth of $1M, at 78, really considered wealthy?

  • EJM||

    Do mine eyes fail me, or is the title a Danko Jones reference?

    It's possible, Warty, but apparently theirs uses "Living", instead of "Livin'"; therefore, I think that the reference is more likely concerning Fear (who did use "Livin'").

  • Rhywun||

    I actually *turned down* a rent-stabilized apartment last year. I only know one person here in NYC who has it, and he tells me a lot of horror stories about the (lack of) maintenance.

  • Guy Montag||

    I only know one person here in NYC who has it, and he tells me a lot of horror stories about the (lack of) maintenance.

    No way! The government caps the rate a property owner can charge for his property and then these evil slumlords refuse to maintain the places in the manner that the renter demands?

    We need a law! Distribute the pitchforks and torches! Jail the slumlords!

    [not directed at you Rhywun ]

  • dhex||

    i live in a rent stabilized apartment, actually. no problems in terms of maintenance.

    woo!

  • BakedPenguin||

    ...the fine Representative, the last I know of to propose slavery as a means to reduce the cost and expand the size of the US military...

    What cracked me up when that idiot introduced the motion to re-introduce the draft was that he claimed it was because the poor were over represented in our voluntary military. Apparently, he had his head up his ass during the entire Vietnam era... if he ever removed it.

  • Rhywun||

    i live in a rent stabilized apartment, actually. no problems in terms of maintenance.



    Well, la-di-dah! :)

    When I lived in Manhattan I had some weird sub-let of a sub-let with several owners and the building was part condo and what all. The whole thing seemed shady to me. I have a feeling that's a pretty common way to get around rent-stabilization. Now I have a landlord who I think owns the building outright and seems more concerned with getting a tenant he likes rather than raising the rent 15% every year - considering he raised mine a whopping $10 this year.

  • ed||

    Is having a net worth of $1M, at 78, really considered wealthy?

    In most of the world it is. Chump change in New York, though?

  • Rhywun||

    Chump change in New York, though?



    Chump change for a *politician*, to be sure. Still a lot for the rest of us mortals.

  • dhex||

    Now I have a landlord who I think owns the building outright and seems more concerned with getting a tenant he likes rather than raising the rent 15% every year - considering he raised mine a whopping $10 this year.

    yeah, i think a lot of landlords, especially as they get further into the game, realize there are costs to raising costs, some of which include dealing with unreliable, sue-happy fuckholes.

    tenants actually have a fair amount of rights via nyc law; the reality is a bit different depending on how many lawyers you can fit into your budget.

  • ||

    Charlie Rangel is one of the staunchest supporters of the War on Drugs and has called for a return of the military draft.He is a Republican in all but party name. I'm sure he would switch if they let African-Americans in the RepubliKKKan Party.

    It sure is nice that the imbeciles in our great nation have access to computers and the internet.

  • Jordan||

    Charlie Rangel is one of the staunchest supporters of the War on Drugs and has called for a return of the military draft.He is a Republican in all but party name. I'm sure he would switch if they let African-Americans in the RepubliKKKan Party.



    Why did you change your name, shriek?

  • Rhywun||

    The fucking *governor* pays less rent than I do--for more bedrooms! Isn't there an income limit?! I could have sworn there is one, and the governor is way, way above it.

    Oh, here's what Rangel has to say: "It is none of The New York Times' business where I decide to live. ... Nor is it The New York Times' business how much space I think I need."

    Douche or turd?

  • Guy Montag||

    Rhywun,

    Oh, here's what Rangel has to say: "It is none of The New York Times' business where I decide to live. ... Nor is it The New York Times' business how much space I think I need."

    Well, he failed to entertain me in his usual manner that time :(

    Perhaps when his staff writers get something written up he will do better?

  • ||

    Oh, here's what Rangel has to say: "It is none of The New York Times' business where I decide to live. ... Nor is it The New York Times' business how much space I think I need."

    But it is our business if one Our Masters is taking sizable gifts from people, no?

  • Guy Montag||

    But it is our business if one Our Masters is taking sizable gifts from people, no?

    Perhaps it is our business but not that of his local newspaper?

  • dhex||

    "It is none of The New York Times' business where I decide to live. ... Nor is it The New York Times' business how much space I think I need."

    wow. that's impressive even for charlie rangel.

    j sub d: despite the mispelling of republican (it's actually spelled FUCKFACE) that's a fair criticism of rangle. he never met an aspect of the drug war he couldn't make worse.

  • ||

    Guy Montag | July 11, 2008, 8:23am | #

    I am waiting for our wacky Leftie friends to begin their defense of rent control stabilization right here on this thread.


    So, Gai, howzzat going?

    "Know your enemy" is for pussies.

  • ||

    """Can anyone reconcile these two statements for me?

    while the law does not bar tenants from having more than one rent-stabilized apartment

    and

    a pretty clear violation of state and city laws mandating that rent-stabilized apartments serve as a tenant's primary residence"""

    Housing law isn't criminal law maybe? I don't think they can charge you with a crime for having more than one rent stablized apt. But it will get you kicked out the non-primary and possibly all of them.

  • ||

    Juanita, Jersey McJones, Dan T, Shriek, Democratic Libertarian

    The names change but...

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