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Earlier this month Democrats in the state assembly pushed through some sweeping new housing laws, including one that changes the added rent landlords have been allowed to charge rent-regulated tenants for “capital improvements” to a surcharge that expires when the cost of improvements is paid off. Today the Times previews a report by the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development that suggests why this might be a good idea: ANHD says that some landlords who claim large expenditures on their housing don’t really do much at all: “Landlords were accused of claiming to have spent $12,000 to $60,000 on improvements in vacant apartments, performing few if any upgrades and then doubling or tripling the rent for new occupants.” The group also says that landlords frequently use the improvements, real or not, as a way to get allowable rents over $2,000, which puts apartments out of stabilization (though another new law, if it passes, will raise that threshold to $5,000 in the city). The Rent Stabilization Association, a landlords’ group, denies the group’s charges. Photo (cc) Carl MiKoy.