Jimmy McMillan, the former gubernatorial candidate for the state of New York who became famous for his "the rent is too damn high" slogan, is facing eviction from his rent-controlled Manhattan apartment.
"I've been here since 1997, and they want more money!" McMillan told the NY Post. He contends the landlord wants him out because "my rent is too damn low."
According to court papers filed by the building owner, McMillan violated his lease because the apartment is not his primary residence as required by rent-controlled rules. They're claiming McMillan lives in Brooklyn.
In an interview last year, McMillan told The New York Times that he payed $900 monthly for a rent-stabilized apartment on St. Marks Place in the East Village where his unemployed 31-year-old son lives. He went on to explain he lived in Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn's Flatbush neighborhood, rent-free in exchange for maintenance work at the property.
McMillan's own troubles laid to the side, his campaign platform was spot on: The rent is too damn high all over the country. Back during the November 2010 elections, Kai Wright and Hatty Lee broke down the findings of a report showing that, by the widely agreed upon standards of affordable housing, in no state can an individual working a full-time, minimum-wage job afford a two-bedroom apartment for herself and her family:
One big driver is that the housing bubble inflated rents to absurd levels, and crowded out new affordable housing developments at the same time. The Coalition report cites a congressional study that found the nation's stock of high-rent units shot up by 94 percent between 2001 and 2007, while the stock of affordable apartments declined by 6 percent. That made things tough enough, and then the crash came, bringing more than a million new renters into the market between 2007 and 2008. Of course, the bottom has kept falling for millions of people, as the middle class collapses into record poverty and the jobs crisis drags on. Little surprise that the number of renters who report "doubling up" with another family has increased by 25 percent since 2005.
So, yeah, the rent is too damn high!