Since the pandemic, apartments in NYC have mostly emptied out, with rental prices dipping to their lowest point in years. But, New Yorkers may actually be having trouble finding those apartments on the market, according to a new report.
NYC landlords are removing vacated apartments from listing sites and instead hanging on to them until prices go back up, the Wall Street Journal states. 1,814 apartment listings were taken off by building owners in February 2021, three times as many as in February of last year.
This phenomenon, called “warehousing,” does happen from time to time since it doesn’t make sense for a landlord to list all of the their apartments when there isn’t much demand, but it appears to have hit a new high during the pandemic. It began this past summer, when a whopping 5,563 unrented apartments were removed.
This past November, Manhattan apartment vacancies reached their highest number in 14 years with a grand total of 16,145 listings. And in October, Manhattan rent was the lowest it had been since 2013.
Since rents are at such a low point and are usually locked in for at least a year, experts say the landlords may be holding onto apartments until the market swings back up, which will likely happen later this year due to the vaccine.
WSJ even spoke to a landlord who wanted to remain anonymous who pretty much confirmed that, though they also cited the current moratorium on evictions for their reasoning. “You’re kind of taking a double risk,” the landlord said, since the rent price would be much lower than normal, and the tenant could also potentially stop paying rent at some point and not be evicted. “So if you can afford to, why wouldn’t you just wait it out?” they asked.
The publication did note that a NYC State Assembly person (and other elected leaders) are against the practice, and one (Linda Rosenthal) even proposed a bill to have landlords fined if they warehoused apartments for over three months, saying it is “a crisis in the city” and it is “unconscionable that some landlords are keeping units off the market.”
featured image source: Shutterstock