Rethink Changes in Condo Conversion Laws
by Roberta Axelrod
Jul 15, 2020 | 1865 views | 0 0 comments | 159 159 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Roberta Axelrod is director of Condo Conversions for Time Equities, Inc.
Roberta Axelrod is director of Condo Conversions for Time Equities, Inc.
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After months of being on pause and the ravages of COVID-19, we need to be thinking of ways to jump start our economy.

Just as one can take a seemingly dead battery and revive it with the right charge and a set of jumper cables, we too can help to restart our economy with a charge of the right stimulus: changing the condo conversion laws to make condo conversion easier again.

This simple stimulus formula costs no infusion of cash from the public sector.

To the contrary, it generates funds for the public sector in the form of city and state transfer taxes, income taxes and filing fees, and most importantly at this time of high unemployment, it generates increased jobs thereby reducing unemployment and the cost of unemployment payments by from the government.

Condo conversions not only help to stabilize neighborhoods and improve old housing stock, they create jobs and work for many types of businesses.

In addition to development companies, they create work for contractors, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, security and building maintenance staff, architects and engineers, lawyers and accountants, advertising and public relations firms, advertising for newspapers, creative and web design firms, photographers, real estate brokers, mortgage brokers, lenders, title companies, furniture stores, lighting stores, decorators, appliance stores, hardware stores, etc.

Non-eviction condo conversion plans improve the living conditions of all building residents, whether they choose to purchase their apartment or not.

In addition, tenants purchasing under condo conversion plans often secure their unit at a discount to the current market rate, and can typically obtain financing with lower down payments, making home ownership more affordable.

The increased percent of sale requirements, from 15 percent to a barely reachable 51 percent, effectively killed the condo conversion business, hurting a myriad of mainly small businesses and their employees.

Our proposed solution is to once again permit condo conversions with 15 percent of units sold while also including an affordable housing component. In effect, this will help those in need of housing assistance, an especially dire need with New York unemployment approaching 15 percent.

An affordable housing contribution from both developers and purchasers on initial and future closings would be a source of private funds to help support this important and critical public need.

In summary, simply amending the condo conversion laws with the proposed changes will create jobs, reduce unemployment, generate revenue for government, reduce governmental expenditure, generate private sector income and help those in need of housing assistance.

So what are we waiting for? Now is the time to make this change and let a public, private partnership be a spark of needed energy in our recovery economy.
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