NEW YORK – New York State Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis and City Council Minority Leader Steven Matteo sent a letter, dated April 14, to Mayor Bill de Blasio reiterating their calls on the City of New York to freeze collection of property taxes and water bills for homeowners and small landlords.
The full text of the letter follows:
The Honorable Bill de Blasio
Mayor of the City of New York
New York, NY 10007
April 14, 2020
Dear Mayor de Blasio:
We write to follow up on our previous letter dated March 17 in which we requested that the City of New York temporarily freeze collection of property taxes and water bills for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Most banks have provided a grace period for mortgage payments and utilities have committed to not shutting off service for nonpayment. However, you have not yet made any determination on providing similar leniency when it comes to the payment of property taxes and water bills by New York City residents.
While we have not received a response to our letter, we have heard you call upon the state to freeze rent. Homeowners also have expenses they need to pay such as mortgages, property taxes and utilities with small landlords often relying on the income obtained from rent to make those payments. We implore you to keep in mind that some homeowners are also landlords who know their tenants on a personal level and are working with those unable to pay rent or only able to pay reduced rents.
Additionally, it is important to note that many small businesses across the city have triple net leases. That essentially means all real estate tax and common area maintenance expenses are paid by the tenant, not the landlord. Since the city calculates real estate rates for commercial property on the year’s projections, tenants and landlords alike are currently being forced to pay full real estate taxes as if the businesses are fully operational. Even if the tenant can negotiate some base rent deferments, they would still be on the hook for significant tax bills.
We once again ask that you provide similar relief, to that which you are requesting, for property owners by temporarily freezing collection of property taxes and water bills for those affected until this crisis is stabilized or ends or for the same period of time any moratorium is given to renters. This will provide relief by alleviating uncertainty for both local businesses dealing with government mandates and residents who are either sick or out of work due to mandated closures. It will allow our constituents to, not only keep their head above water and avoid foreclosure and liens, but to focus on what matters most; their loved ones, neighbors and employees.
Member of the Assembly, 64th District
NYC Council Minority Leader, 50th District