Division of Housing and Community Renewal

Vacancies at Selected Mitchell-Lama Housing Developments

The Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) supervises more than 170 privately owned housing developments that were created under the New York State Private Housing Finance Law (the Mitchell-Lama Law). Applicants for units in these developments are placed on a waiting list. We examined whether vacancies at six selected developments in Manhattan were being filled in a timely manner. We found that the three cooperative developments resold their vacant units in a timely manner, but the three rental developments had vacancies for excessive periods of time. For example, 20 the 137 rental units that were vacant during our review period remained vacant for more than two years.

The three developments were slow to fill their vacancies because they were planning to buy out of the Mitchell-Lama Program, and would be able to sell or rent vacant units at higher prices after the buyouts. Such delays in filling vacancies are not allowed under the Mitchell-Lama Program, and we recommended that DHCR not process buyout applications from developments engaging in such delays. We also determined that one of the cooperative developments was allowing its units to be sub-let, contrary to Program requirements. DHCR had previously given the development permission to do this, but in light of the increased demand for the units, we recommended that DHCR review the situation and determine whether permission should be revoked.

For a complete copy of Report 2008-S-122 click here.
For a copy of the associated follow-up report click here.