We’ve often been asked by our readers to put more of a stake in the ground and take a stronger stance in our writing. In the spirit of fully embracing this suggestion, we are predicting the extinction of the “mom and pop” landlord. That’s right: we boldly declare that these landlords will disappear from the face of NYC’s rental landscape. By “mom and pop” we mean small landlords with fewer than 20 apartments throughout the city, for whom the rental game represents their primary business and income.
Our reasons are many:
- Rising carrying costs (including property taxes and energy expenses)
- Greater competition from larger landlords with deeper pockets and economies of scale
- The proliferation of luxury and ultra luxury rentals, spoiling tenants to expect more in terms of doormen, gyms, lounges, roof-tops, etc.
- The expanding rental infrastructure outside of the city, tempting price-sensitive renters to cross the water for higher standards
- The aging inventory of typical “mom and pop” properties, requiring a decent investment in renovations and upgrading
- The diminishing roommate pool of tenants (read: shares), as shrunk by the renewed enforcement of laws prohibiting the placement of divider walls in convertible properties
One such landlord we interviewed who wishes to remain anonymous noted: “My rents used to cover all of my expenses and still left me with a pretty penny of profit. Now, I almost have to pay my tenants to live here. The new generation of renters wants it all: stainless steel appliances, new floors and the rent they paid in 2001. I can’t win.” It seems that the increase in average rents has not trickled down to the smaller landlords in the city. While our headline boldness may be a bit tongue in cheek, the headwinds faced by these landlords are very real.