To the editor:
(re: “Housing is a human right,” May 9)
Housing affordability is a crisis across our city, across many income levels. For renters and homeowners alike, staying in their homes can be financially difficult.
Understandably, there is a lot of attention and energy focused on securing stronger rent laws for tenants. Our leaders in Albany have an important opportunity in the coming weeks to further protect tenants. However, our state leaders must also protect homeowners by making permanent the co-op and condo tax abatement that makes homeownership accessible and possible for so many New Yorkers.
Homeownership is a path the middle class, and as nearly half of New Yorkers struggle to afford to live here, our state leaders need to safeguard resources that protect homeowners and make homeownership more affordable. Property taxes are high across the city, but the Bronx is one of the boroughs that pays the most.
Co-ops and condos have made homeownership possible for many New Yorkers, providing families the opportunity to invest in their homes for the future. However, co-op and condo owners face heightened tax burdens because they are characterized differently from traditional homes and other residential properties, and the city’s co-op and condo tax abatement program is the only protective measure in place to help level the playing field.
As we look to find solutions to our city’s housing crisis, we must ensure that middle class families and senior citizens who own co-ops or condos do not face increased burdens that force them out of their homes. It is imperative that our leaders in Albany put everyday New Yorkers ahead of wealthy special interests and real estate interests.
Protections for shareholders should not just be renewed and strengthened, but should exist in perpetuity. Residents of the Northwest Bronx should not worry from year to year if they will be able to afford to stay in their home. Making this abatement permanent will help make co-ops a little more affordable.
Ending our crisis will take creative solutions and commitments from leaders at all levels of government. In addition to strengthening rent laws, I urge our leaders in Albany to do their part in the coming weeks to make permanent the co-op and condo property tax abatement program so that home ownership remains accessible for New Yorkers.
The author, son of Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, is a candidate for city council.