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Press Release: Intentional Vacancy Rate Climbs

By Roy HoSeptember 16, 2020 conducted the August’s rent delinquency survey between 9/1 and 9/4 with 140 respondents.

August rent delinquency decreased compared to all previous four months, which makes it the best month since the survey’s inception, although this survey has only been tracked for the fifth month. Some landlords continue to plan to leave their vacant units vacant, although rent delinquency rate continues to decline. Moreover, the planned vacancy rate is 42% higher than in the previous two months, Figure 1. Now, 76% of small landlords in New York report that all my tenants have identities. Roy Ho of says that the data trend in August may lead one to conclude that illegal immigration is related to the rent delinquency rate when in fact statistics find that the legal status and the rent delinquency rate were only somewhat related in June and July. In fact, cash rent payment is a more significant factor contributing to the changes of delinquency rate than the ratio of illegal immigrants among the tenants. Roy Ho attributes this increase of intentional vacancy rate to the moratorium extension announced in August.

Staten Island has been anecdotally experiencing a higher rent delinquency rate than Brooklyn and Queens. However, with five months of data, these two rumors have been proven once again that both are just that: rumor. Data once again show that Staten Island has had a lower rent delinquency rate than Queens 3 out of the last 5 months, see Figure 2 and 3. In the month of August the difference between Queens and Staten Island and Queens is merely 3%.

Figure 2: 2020/08 Survey Delinquencies of Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island

Brooklyn had a similar rent delinquency record to Queens at the beginning of the pandemic and had diverged its difference in June and July. However, its delinquency rate is closing the gap, see Figure 2 and 3.

Figure 3: Rent Delinquency Rates Across Regions

Figure 4: 2020/08 Survey Delinquencies of NYC and NJ

Many in NY has been envious of the NJ property managers’ lower delinquency rate. However, these 5 months of data show that NJ now has a slightly higher delinquency rate than NYC, see Figure 3 and 4. The NJ landlords only enjoyed this good fortune for three months, from May to July. Finally, the NJ data sample is just enough for analysis, although its sample size has been increasing. NY Small Landlords is pleased to announce that former state Senator Jesse Hamilton has decided to dedicate part of his legal practice to help members of NY Small Landlords via contesting property tax and housing violations. Jesse Hamilton represented the New York State Senate’s 20th District from 2015 to 2018, is a former member of the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), is the Secretary of the Brooklyn Democratic Party. He was defeated in the September 2018 Democratic primary election. NY Small Landlords is pleased to announce Kenneth Chiu to be a senior advisor to NY Small Landlords. Kenneth Chiu was a candidate for the NY state assembly in 2020, Special Assistant to NYC Council Member Carlos Menchaca, State Senator Jesse Hamilton and Assemblyman Felix Ortiz. He most recently advocated for relief that would have direct impact to both tenants and landlords to preserve the operation of the rental market. The $100 million COVID Rent Relief Program was subsequently born.

In order to provide a more diversified housing options to the tenants than corporate landlords, advocates for a more competitive rental market for the small property owners against the corporate landlords, provides seminars to landlords and collective bargaining on behalf of landlords in selected services to improve their competitiveness in the rental market.

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