It's Old People vs. Landlords in Vanishing Rent-Controlled Apartments

The fight over rent control has become essentially a battle of
attrition between elderly tenants and landlords impatient to get them
out, suggests an article today in the New York Post.

The Post reports on the case of 97-year-old Magnus Saethre,
his $63 apartment and his $25,000 legal bill. Mr. Saethre has been in
court repeatedly to try to get him to repair the unit, claiming the
landlord is using the apartment's condition to drive him out.

Of course, rent control has always killed landlords' incentive to fix
up units, but with the rapidly falling number of rent-controlled units
landlords may be growing more impatient for tenant turnover, the article
suggests. In the last 20 years, the number of rent-controlled unit has
fallen from 155,000 to under 40,000, according to the State Division of Housing and Community Renewal.

The good news, of course, is that landlords are undertaking massive
renovation projects on apartments they can now rent at market rates. The
bad news for rent-controlled tenants, as The New York Times reported in
the spring, is that if they live in the last remaining rent-controlled
unit in their building, they may also find themselves in the midst of a
construction zone.

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