NY Times

Rental Incentives during peak summer months in NYC? Sounds too good to be true but it’s not.

New York’s prime leasing season is well under way and there are more choices then ever for prospective renters. Typically, from May through August property owners across New York City have the upper hand as college graduates flock to the city in preparation for their new jobs as well as families gearing up to secure a residence before the new school year. Renters in NYC know all too well to expect higher rents during these summer months, and those that find themselves in the cycle of leasing during the summer are usually prepare for sticker shock.
For the first time in almost four years of growth in the NYC real estate market property owners are having to get creative with incentives like paying the broker fee and offering free rent to attract more interested renters. There are more choices in the market now more than previous years because prices are beyond what most people can or will pay for a rental. Renters looking for a new place to call home this summer have a competitive advantage as they can be more choosy in what they put an application in for. People who may not have ideal credit are getting approved much faster than in past as landlords appear to be more willing to work tenants. While incentives are typically neighborhood specific, certain older rental buildings are also competing by offering their own incentives.
As one of the leading boutique firms in the New York Metropolitan Area, NY Living Solutions specializes in helping renters and buyers navigate the Financial District. NY Living Solutions has access to many no-fee apartment rentals all throughout Manhattan including luxury condominiums as well as new grand opening properties with incredible amenities.

Stuyvesant Town Tenants Wins Court Decision-A Resident Speaks

Something For The Wanna Have’s.

The battle between The Tenant’s association and PCVST management company Tishman Speyer ended yesterday with the highest court in New York ruling in favor of the The Tenants.  This was the last possible appeal from Tishman after an Amicus brief was prepared which served to prove Tishman’s double dipping in the form of receiving J-51 tax breaks and market rate rent hikes. The law clearly bars deregulating units “which became or become subject to [stabilization] by virtue of receiving tax benefits” under the city’s J-51 program. This was a huge victory for the lower and middle class. During this time of excessive corporate greed and massive bonus payments justice was served today with a very clear message; You can’t expect to break the law, make a profit while also receiving tax benefits and not be punished. You can’t have it both ways and enjoy a capitalist compensation and a socialist compensation while you screw the people in the community. That’s called exploitation. This was a risk taken to earn a profit and the risk has not paid off. The beauty of which is pure capitalism. There are some commentator’s and journalists out there who see this as an unjust verdict. One of which is Steve Cuozzo in his NY Post article. He suggests that Jerry and Rob Speyer had another interpretation of the law (yeah no kidding) and writes “With so much hanging on the meaning of “by virtue of,” Jerry and Rob Speyer nonetheless rolled the dice. Now the court has made things far worse for them and for the entire decontrol cause, which too briefly offered a way out of the system’s socialist-style deathlock on the rental housing scene.” My answer to that is, Are you friggin serious Steve? So you’re supporting tax theft at the very least? This was a victory for pure capitalism and justice. If you take a profit gamble and you fail due to what is written in law then it’s game over. And the fallout from this can neither be protected or rationalized. If other landlords profit margin were based on the same expectations then that too is their big gamble. For the record I am a resident in Stuyvesant Town making $150,000 a year and I cannot save any money. This is a true victory also for the middle class. We deserve a victory after all our money has been either stolen from us or simply gobbled up by credit card companies and rent.

The final question I have is, now what? What happens from here with the decision. How will the money be parceled up for the victors? I live in a market rate apartment but I signed a lease agreeing to those terms.  While it’s true that 4,352  apartments are now market rate, I signed my lease agreeing to pay that rate.  I have asked employees working for Tishman Speyer whether I will receive a new re-regulated apartment and at this time it is not certain what the costs will be to TS or the re-structuring of the leases. I do not expect pro rated rent payments to be awarded but an apartment rate that could help me save would be nice.

INCENTIVES TO SEDUCE BUYERS !!!

Getting Inventive to Seduce Buyers

  

THESE are nerve-racking times for NYC Real Estate brokers. Although prices are higher this year than last, the average sales price for luxuryManhattan apartments slipped 17 percent, to $6.4 million, from the first quarter of the year to the second, according to Prudential Douglas Elliman. Though many brokers and developers insist they feel no serious qualms yet — they are counting on the weak dollar to keep attracting foreign buyers — some are unveiling new stratagems for luring higher-end clients and the brokers who know them.

Click the link to read the full article:

 http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/28/realestate/28cov.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

NYLS Commentary:

Incentives to buyers are not new to the NYC residential real estate market. With residential rental apartments we tend to see a cyclical cycle in the overall volume of rental transactions. The Summer months (April – September) tend to be very active with a large number of out of town renters coming to New York City many for the first time. Generally in the summertime Landlords have the leverage and rent prices go up. The Winter months (October – March) are notoriously slower and the volume of transactions is almost cut in half. It is during this time when Landlords offer incentives to Brokers and tenants alike. 

Right now in the Financial District, The type of incentives being offered have not been seen since after 9/11 when many residents of Lower Manhattan were offered a 2 year grant by the Government as incentive not to abandon the area. Examples of Incentives downtown include 1 – 3 Months of FREE Rent, 1 Month Paid Broker Fee, Free I-Pod, etc…

In the Sales Market we have not seen a tremendous decrease in prices, Instead Developers have chosen to increase the incentives to Brokers raising commissions from 3% in some cases all the way to 6%. Incentives are also being given to potential buyers such as increased negotiating power, Developer picking up transfer tax, Free Vacation, etc…

20 Exchange Place

Streetscapes | Exchange Place

An Early Tower That Aspired to Greatness

Architectural Forum/Library of Congress; G. Paul Burnett/NYT

SURPRISING FIND The City Bank-Farmers Trust building, at left and above in 1931, has a plain facade except for 14 hooded figures at the 19th floor. The building’s two lavish lobbies were fashioned from 45 different kinds of marble. Today, the tower is being renovated for rental apartments and retail space.

By CHRISTOPHER GRAY

 Published: July 20, 2008

FIFTY-NINE stories does not seem like much now, but when planned in 1929, the City Bank-Farmers Trust Building was to be the tallest skyscraper in the world after the Empire State Building. With its sheer limestone facade, haunting sculptural treatment and rich marble halls, the building — which is being converted to residential use — is a surprising find on its cramped, odd-shaped block at Exchange Place, at the conjunction of Beaver, Hanover and William Streets.
Underhill/Library of Congress 

In 1929, the financial district was booming. The architects Cross & Cross were at work on a 50-story office building for Continental Bank at Broad Street and Exchange Place, which ultimately wasn’t built.

Then the National City Bank of New York merged with the Farmers’ Loan and Trust Company, and entered the skyscraper sweepstakes. When their architects, also Cross & Cross, filed plans at the Bureau of Buildings on Oct. 2, The New York Times described the new structure, at 71 stories and 846 feet, as the highest ever officially proposed.

The design for the City Bank-Farmers Trust tower called for an illuminated globe on top, but the stock market crash a few weeks after filing brought the project up short, and it was reduced to 59 stories.

Research by the Landmarks Preservation Commission gives the height as 685 feet, although just before completion The Times reported it as 750 feet. A partial set of engineering drawings from 1930 by the firm of Purdy & Henderson shows the 54th floor — several levels below the roof — as 670 feet high.

The exact height of the building remains unclear. But it is safe to say that, when completed, it trailed the Empire State Building (1,250 feet), the Chrysler Building (1,046 feet) and the Bank of the Manhattan (927 feet).

In August 1930, The Times reported that Gilbert Nicoll, a 20-year-old messenger, was near death after being hit by an iron bolt dropped from the 57th floor. He had been unemployed for months, according to the article, and the accident happened on his first day as a bank messenger.

The building was completed the next year. The outside is plain, even ho-hum, except for 14 moody hooded figures at the 19th floor. The magazine Through the Ages said in 1931 that they represented “giants of finance, seven smiling, seven scowling.” Figures of coins on the ground floor represented countries in which the bank had its main branches. The Times called the building “conservative modern.”

According to a 1931 article in Architecture and Building, the two lavish lobbies were fashioned from 45 different kinds of marble, quarried in Germany, Italy, Czechoslovakia, France, Spain, Belgium and elsewhere.

The brothers Eliot and John Walter Cross formed a talented and versatile partnership. Well born, well educated and socially connected, they did in-town mansions and country estates, banks and garages, lofts and skyscrapers — like the 1931 General Electric building at 51st Street and Lexington Avenue, with its Art Deco radio-wave imagery.

The architects’ niece Sarnia Marquand told a reporter in a 1980 interview that John Cross was the designer in the firm and Eliot handled the business side. Their most recognizable design is probably the sumptuously plain Tiffany & Company store at 57th Street and Fifth Avenue, which dates to 1940.

According to the 1996 Landmark designation report, City Bank-Farmers Trust went through several changes, evolving into First National City Bank, and then, in 1976, Citibank. Its move out of the skyscraper happened in stages, the last one in 1989.

The tower is easy to see from a distance but hard to find on the ground in the maze of irregular downtown streets. The City Bank-Farmers Trust banking hall runs along William Street. It is a high, columned space in English oak with polished marble and nickel trim, all handled in the Art Deco classicism that had become a safe alternative to radical European modernism.

At Exchange and William, the main entrance to the banking hall is a high rotunda, flush with varying marbles, the most striking a golden travertine from Czechoslovakia, quite different from the pallid ivory-colored stone popular in the 1960s. From the tower there are wide views to the harbor and around to old skyscrapers on the land side.

Today, a real estate firm, Metro Loft Management, is renovating the tower for rental apartments, and has 350 units ready on the floors from 16 to the top.

A second phase, lower down, will involve office tenants; the company that takes the high banking hall will have a most spectacular retail space.

Frequently Asked Questions…

When a Landlord Won’t Return a Security Deposit

Q

I moved into an apartment on a one-year lease. Thirty days before the end of my lease, I gave notice to vacate and requested, in writing, the return of my security deposit and interest.

I moved out on March 2 and have yet to receive a check or a notice stating that the landlord was keeping the deposit. There was no damage to the apartment, so I expect the full deposit to be returned. They are not returning my calls.

What should I do? 

A

Dov Treiman, a Manhattan real estate lawyer, said the tenant had two possible paths to pursue. “First, the tenant may bring a case in small claims court or, for very large security deposits, in the regular part of the New York City Civil Court,” he said.

“Second, the tenant may file a complaint with the Bureau of Consumer Frauds and Protection of the New York State Attorney General’s Office.”

Mr. Treiman said that pressing the case in small claims court or Civil Court could prove very frustrating, because it could entail several appearances in court.

Also, the landlord will frequently be represented by a lawyer, and the tenant typically will not be. While not always the case, the lawyer could use various tactics to delay the case or to wear the tenant down in hopes of forcing him or her to give up.

Even if the tenant wins in court, Mr. Treiman added, he or she would then have to turn over the judgment to a city marshal to have it enforced, a process that can also be time consuming and somewhat expensive.

On the other hand, the consumer fraud bureau of the Attorney General’s Office is very interested in these cases and in getting them resolved quickly. “They have tremendous power to coerce landlords to return the security deposit, but will only do so if the deposit has not been returned for more than 30 days after the tenant moves out,” Mr. Treiman said.

The Bureau of Consumer Frauds and Protection is at 120 Broadway in Lower Manhattan. The toll-free consumer help line is (800) 771-7755.

http://realestateqa.blogs.nytimes.com/

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE NEWS

What you need to know to get a home loan in today’s more regulated mortgage market. [NY Times]

Living in: Yorkville. [NY Times]

Q & A: When a landlord refuses to return a security deposit. [NY Times]

The new cast of The Real World will live in a $6 million, two-story penthouse at the Belltel Lofts in downtown Brooklyn. [NYDN]

A list of weekend getaways that won’t lighten your wallet or expand your carbon footprint too much. [Time Out New York]