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.