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New York landlords 'hang on' to empty flats until rents rise

17 March 2021
1 min.
New York landlords 'hang on' to empty flats until rents rise

Empty flats in New York City

The pandemic has emptied the city and rental prices have fallen to their lowest levels in years. But according to a new report, New Yorkers may have trouble finding these flats on the market.

New York landlords are removing vacated flats from listing sites and instead "holding on" to them until prices rise again. In February 2021, landlords removed 1,814 flats from their listings.

This process, called "warehousing", does happen from time to time, as it makes no sense for a landlord to show all his flats when there is not much demand.

Last November, the number of empty apartments in Manhattan reached the highest level in 14 years, with a total of 16,145 offers.

With rents at low levels, experts say landlords may hold on to flats until the market returns to normal, which is likely to happen later this year. The timing is linked primarily to vaccination.

WSJ spoke to a landlord who wished to remain anonymous. He largely confirmed the information. Although the landlords also cited the current moratorium on eviction as an argument.

"You're kind of at double risk", the landlord said, as the rent will be much lower than normal and the tenant could also potentially stop paying at some point and not be evicted. "So, if you can afford it, why don't you just wait?" they ask.

The publication notes that some New York State Assembly members have even proposed a bill to fine landlords if they "keep" flats for more than three months.

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