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Advocates criticize developer Extell for allegedly abusing affordable housing laws

The advocates are calling out Extell for allegedly exploiting loopholes in affordable housing policy.

Edric Robinson

May 30, 2024, 11:51 PM

Updated 24 days ago


Housing rights groups and tenants rallied outside Extell Development’s Manhattan headquarters, alleging that the developer has been taking advantage of housing laws and pushing people out of their homes.
"All renters in New York City, you are in danger," warned Bertha Lewis, of The Black Institute Group.
The advocates are calling out Extell for allegedly exploiting loopholes in affordable housing policy.
"Realtors and corporate landlords are finding loopholes to be able to demolish rent stabilization. They want their best bang for their buck, meaning if they put up luxury apartments, they want 100% of what they're putting out. They don’t want people who can’t pay the luxury price," said Darius Gordon, executive director of MET Council.
The group claimed that Extell is one offender misusing Section 2524.5 of the Rent Stabilization Code. This policy requires landlords to follow specific rules and provide valid reasons before making tenants leave their units. Advocates say developers like Extell bypass this by demolishing buildings with promises for new luxury.
Their campaign singles out Gary Barnet, the founder of Extell Development.
"Gary is the main landlord who is in favor of the demolition legislation. We have one of his tenants who is in a rent-stabilized apartment now defending his place where he wants to live," said Gordon.
A spokesperson with Extell Development stated, "This law was created years ago and helps housing get built in New York City. It prevents a single tenant, for its personal benefit, from blocking the construction of hundreds of new housing units both affordable and market rate. Extell has created and funded more than 1,000 affordable housing units throughout the city as part of its commitment to affordable housing in New York City and support of the city's affordable housing policies."
Advocates are calling on key legislators to strengthen protections for rent-stabilized apartments and safeguard 2.5 million rent-stabilized tenants.
A spokesperson with the governor’s office told News 12 NY, “Gov. Hochul is committed to supporting New York renters, which is why the landmark housing agreement she fought to include in this year’s budget included historic tenant protections to stop price-gouging and unlawful evictions.”
"This should be a home run, this should be a layup, and they’re not doing what they need to do," said Gordon.
The group is adamant about not letting this go until legislators take action.

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