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Rent-Stabilized Buildings' Net Operating Income Took A Record Plunge


The net operating income of New York's rent-stabilized buildings dropped by nearly 14% between 2016 and 2021, according to the city’s Rent Guidelines Board as the double-whammy impact of rent regulations and the pandemic weighed heavily on landlords.

The analysis was released as part of the RGB’s 2023 Income & Expense Report, and showed that NOI dropped by over 9% in 2021 from 2020, the largest one-year fall in the history of the data, breaking the previous record from 2002 after 9/11.

“This report is proof positive that the disinvestment and defunding of New York’s rent stabilized housing stock needs to stop,” Community Housing Improvement Program Executive Director Jay Martin said in a statement. “The Rent Guidelines Board must ensure they use this data, along with the data in the upcoming reports, to set a sustainable rent adjustment that will keep this critical housing stock on the market and ensure the future of an affordable housing supply in the city.”

The report is one of several used to guide the board on rent adjustments. Last year, the board voted to allow landlords of rent-stabilized apartments to raise rents by up to 3.25% for one-year leases and 5% for two-year leases starting from last October. Tenant advocates had said anything over a 1.5% increase would be unacceptable.

The city has more than 1 million rent-stabilized apartments, which account for approximately 44% of the its rental units and 28% of its overall housing stock, per the 2021 Housing Vacancy Survey.

The report analyzes around 700,000 apartments in 15,000 buildings and is based on income and expense filings required from buildings with more than 10 units that contain rent-stabilized stock. While the average NOI across all buildings with some form of rent stabilization fell 9.1%, the properties outside of Manhattan’s core were down 5.1% in 2021. In residential-only properties, NOI was 13.2% lower than the average of all buildings with rent-stabilized units, at $500 per unit.

Specifically in fully stabilized buildings, rents went up by 1.4%, income by 2%, but operational costs also went up 5.5%, pushing the NOI down by 4%.

Landlords have long argued rent reform legislation of 2019 devalued their properties and worsened the city’s overall housing stock. The housing crisis, meanwhile, has gone from bad to worse, with the average rental price in Manhattan at $5,186 per month, according to the latest data from Douglas Elliman.