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Could This be the Neighborhood’s Most Luxurious Small Apartment?

Architects tackling Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s challenge to design a livable 275-square-foot “micro-unit” apartment can take inspiration from James Hong. The East Village resident maximized the space in his 500-square-foot digs by using a sliding door, a custom tub and all kinds of other high-end renovations depicted in the video above. (Clearly, it helps to have some cash to spend.)

Of course, Mr. Hong isn’t the first to make the most of a small East Village apartment. Back in 2009 the firm Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture squeezed a home office into a small studio, thanks to stairs that doubled as drawers and an elevated bed built above a walk-in closet.

Good News for Renters

Curtains - Lower East Side - New York City

A pair of items offer a rare bit of good news for those who rent. First, a change in policy in the New York State Unified Court System will eliminate easy access to so-called tenant blacklists, The Village Voice reports. Landlords have been able to buy the lists of people who participated in housing court cases from a third party as a way to weed out troublesome tenants. Now, plaintiffs and defendants in court cases will remain in the public record, but the lists of names in bulk will no longer be available for purchase online. Concern over the blacklists is real: it even came up in the comments of our coverage of the landlord-tenant fight brewing on East Third Street. In other news, the Post reports that the annual rent increase for rent-stabilized apartments will likely be the smallest its been since 2002.

Looking for an East Village Apartment? Come See Some!

One of the few rentalsMeghan Keneally

Moving is a drag; as Off the Grid pointed out yesterday, even Allen Ginsberg had to do it a whole bunch (heck, your editor lives in one of his old apartments – found it on Craigslist). Maybe you’re looking for new digs in the neighborhood? The Local would like to show you some! Don’t worry, our apartment tour won’t take long; and you’ll get to tell us what you think of each place on camera. Fun, right? Okay, so send an e-mail telling us what you’re looking for and let’s talk. Who knows, maybe you’ll snag Iggy Pop’s old place…

A Look at Rent Law Changes

In 11 days, changes in the laws that regulate how much your landlord can charge in rent per month will begin to take effect.

However, the changes are not exactly what local tenant advocacy groups wanted. Many groups, including the Cooper Square Committee, Real Rent Reform, Tenants and Neighbors and the Good Old Lower East Side were hoping state legislators would eliminate the rent laws’ vacancy decontrol, which allows a landlord who renovates a unit to charge more in rent per month to a new tenant after the previous vacates the unit. Instead, vacancy decontrol remains in the law.

The renewed laws, which were passed in conjunction with but overshadowed by the passage of same-sex marriage in New York, affect the residents of 1 million rent-regulated apartments across the state. It also affects the landlords of those buildings.

In the video above, The Local’s Khristopher J. Brooks offers a breakdown of some of the most significant changes.

In the East Village, A Dearth of Rentals

One of the few rentalsMeghan Keneally One of the few available rentals.

When scouring apartment listings, it always seems like that time — that particular time when you decided to move — was the worst possible choice because there are so few apartments available. For those searching now, they’re not just imagining it.

The percentage of available apartments in Manhattan this May hit its lowest rate in the past five years. With every neighborhood differing slightly, the East Village average was 0.69 percent — the same as the city wide average — and the overall city vacancy rate decreasing by 0.25 percent from the month prior.

According to StreetEasy, a real estate comparison website, the overall amount of rental apartments in Manhattan is down by 18 percent from this time last year.

“Rental inventory is tight everywhere right now. It’s the season: May, June, and July are the peak months for rental,” said Sofia Song, vice president of research at StreetEasy.

The East Village is known largely in the real estate world for being filled with college students and recent grads (along with the artists and musicians who shaped the area’s identity), and while they do still make up a sizable amount of the market, there are other groups interested in the area.
Read more…