Apartment evictions are down, study says

There have been three evictions so far this year in Gramercy. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Residential evictions are down in New York City from last year, according to a study conducted by apartment listings website RentHop.

Overall there was a 9.6 percent drop throughout the city with evictions tapering off in each borough based on eviction information from January 1 to March 11 in 2018 and January 1 to March 11 in 2019.

The study also found that: both Brooklyn and The Bronx have a much higher eviction rate than Manhattan, but both also had sharp drops from 2018 to 2019. The Bronx went from 1,558 to 1,225 (a 21.4 percent decrease). Brooklyn went from 1,170 to 994 (a 15 percent decrease). Manhattan’s numbers, meanwhile, only decreased slightly from 518 to 486 (6.2 percent). Queens has a higher eviction rate than Manhattan, but it too only decreased slightly from 733 to 716 (2.3 percent). Staten Island easily has the fewest evictions, having gone from 127 to 97. Percentage-wise, this was the sharpest decrease at 23.6 percent.

Adrian McHale, who worked on the study, used numbers from the city’s open data portal, which includes information such as addresses but not the reason given for the eviction.

In 2018 there were roughly 21,000 evictions throughout the entire year. Based on these numbers, a summary of the report concluded that “It would be unfair to characterize evictions in NYC as a problem affecting a large portion of the population.”

McHale explained, “In a city of eight to ten million people, 21,000 evictions seems like a fairly small number. That being said, we don’t want to downplay the plight of those 21,000, but when painting with a broad brushstroke, we feel it’s a fairly small subset of the population.”

The study also found no correlation between median rents and the number of evictions, with McHale saying, “It runs the gamut.”

While reasons for evictions aren’t publicly available, they’re typically for nonpayment of rent.

RentHop also found that a Manhattan midtown address where there were many evictions, when Googled, immediately turned up an ad for an Airbnb.

“It may be that people in Manhattan are Airbnbing their apartments and getting evicted,” said McHale, though he clarified this is just a theory and not data-driven.

As for the drop in tenants being booted from their homes, McHale guessed that this is mostly market related.

“If rent prices are lower than they’ve been or not rising to degrees they have in the past, that would also have an effect on evictions,” he said.

It is also possible that recent city legislation that guarantees counsel to tenants facing eviction could be a factor.

But, McHale added, “This is only the first quarter (of the year), so who knows what will happen during the busy season, which is the beginning of the summer to early winter. But I do imagine this drop is something that will persist through the year.”

While it is possible there are some evictions that aren’t warranted, McHale said, “The point we’re trying to make is that evictions are fairly uncommon. In 2019, in the West Village, there was only one eviction. It’s possible there are landlords who are bad actors, but it’s somewhat difficult (to track that as opposed to problems) with heat and hot water.”

In other findings, in Manhattan, the addresses with the most evictions in 2019 are 555 Tenth Avenue in Hudson Yards and 605 42nd Street, both fairly new buildings.

Locally, the amount of evictions processed were on the low side, in some neighborhoods decreasing, in others increasing from 2018, according to a map created by RentHop.

The communities of Murray Hill-Kips Bay had 14 evictions this year, eight in the same period in 2018.

Gramercy, which seems to include Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper on the map, had three in 2019, the same in 2018.

The neighborhoods of Union Square, Chelsea, Flatiron and Hudson Yards, all grouped together, had 21 in 2019, 14 in 2018.

The East Village had six in 2019, eight in 2018.

The Lower East Side had 27 in 2019, 34 in 2018.

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