There Are Actually Two Problems With Rent
Nicole Dieker

I must say this conversation is not going where I expected.

Does it really make sense to have huge swathes of land that are so expensive to live in they only have the top 5% wealthiest people living there and all of the people who “serve” them, so to speak, commute in from 50 miles away?

Is that best for our environment, for our lives, for our country?

Dream big folks, it doesn’t have to be this way. Allow yourself to envision a better world. Otherwise we will never have one.

At least in NY, the majority of our real-estate is not owned by individual landlords. It’s owned by NYU, Columbia University, the city itself (under many names, housing preservation, etc.), and fewer than 100 large real-estate conglomerates. It isn’t the ‘fair market solution’ I think many people might imagine when they say “why shouldn’t the landlords charge what people will pay?”. Should so-called non-profits like universities really be in the business of de-stabilizing rent stabilized apartments so they can charge as much as possible? Should they be in the business of using eminent domain to make land grabs in poor neighborhoods? It seems absolutely insane to me. Yes, the board of trustees has fiduciary responsibilities. But guess what, Columbia University also has an endowment of over 9 billion. Talk about a rainy day fund.

Rent stabilization and rent control are essential tools for keeping this city’s humanity and character. You’ll notice that none of our high ranking politicians ever use those words anymore. They say “affordable housing”. Frankly, affordable housing is mostly jargon BS with many affordable units only lasting 20 years and qualifying affordable as earning 70–100k/py. Go to your community board meetings. Demand more from our mayoral candidates.

If you can expand the scope of your imagination, there is room for a better, less greedy world.

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