The Real Estate Industry’s public relations campaign against the Housing Stability and Protection Act (HSTPA) of 2019 is well under way. In article after article, industry representatives, including landlord attorneys, are making the same predictions they have made after every strengthening of the rent laws since the 1920s: repairs and improvements will not be made, developers will stop building, young people will not be able to find apartments, etc … See for example, “HSTPA—2019: Some Observations,” Estis and Turkel, NYLJ July 2, 2019 (predicting “cheap, shabby apartments”); “How the New Rent Laws will slam NYC’s Housing Market,” New York Post, July 24, 2019 (predicting less development of affordable housing); “Fed Up: Major Landlords Consider Leaving New York,” Crains NY Business Aug. 20, 2019 (predicting that developers will flee to Florida).

As if the New York State Legislature and the governor had stumbled into far-reaching rent reforms without any thought, real estate industry representatives like to call their predictions “unintended consequences.” In “The Law of Unintended Consequences” (Commercial Observer, October 2019), Robert Knakal, Chairman of JLL Investment Sales not only predicts a lack of repairs and improvements but says that there will be fewer flowers in lobbies. However, given that none of these predictions have proven to be reliable in the past, at least as a direct consequence of stronger rent regulations, the real estate industry is starting to sound like the proverbial boy who cried wolf.

Decades of Deregulation and Rent Increases