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Abandonments up.

Citizens Housing and Planning Council has issued a report warning of an imminent, massive new wave of building abandonment and tax foreclosures in New York City.

The report, "Preserving New York's Low-income Housing Stock," estimates that 50,000 units of privately owned low-income housing are in immediate jeopardy of lapsing into abandonment or city ownership. The city is already spending $200 million each year to manage its existing inventory of 40,000 occupied units seized for nonpayment of taxes (in rem). The report contends that a significant increase in the in rem inventory would prove financially ruinous.

CHPC's report notes that the looming crisis has been aggravated by shortsighted city policies. High taxes and new fees--especially those for water and sewer use--are overwhelming the already shaky financial condition of the more than 350,000 privately owned rent-regulated housing units in the city's poorest neighborhoods. Water and sewer charges have overtaken heating fuel as the major utility cost. Unless remedial action is taken promptly, many buildings may fall into city hands.

Joseph B. Rose, executive director of CHPC, warned, "Soaring utility fees and unrealistic taxes are driving buildings into city ownership, where they pay no taxes and require a $3500per-unit annual subsidy. This system is devouring scarce public funds and undermining valuable housing resources. "

The CHPC report includes a comprehensive list of recommendations formulated by a special task force of housing experts to address the crisis. Among the proposals are:

* New subsidies for low-income working tenants in the form of property tax abatements

* An increase in the welfare shelter allowance to levels comparable to that of neighboring counties

* Limits on annual increases in water and sewer fees

* "Work-out" mechanisms to allow some buildings to be released from tax arrears that cannot possibly be paid * Partial pass-alongs of government-mandated costs
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Title Annotation:Citizens Housing and Planning Council report predicts massive move toward building abandonment and tax foreclosures in New York, New York
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:May 27, 1992
Previous Article:Big owner maintains quiet presence.
Next Article:565 Fifth Ave. tops out.

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