The city’s Rent Guidelines Board’s Monday night meeting is a ritual nearly five decades old. But the real possibility of a rent freeze makes this year’s event truly unusual. The Board has approved large increases (like 8.5 percent in 1974) and small hikes, such as last year’s 1 percent bump in one-year leases. But it’s never not raised rents at least a little.
Here’s a quick look at the increases approved since 1968. Note that these are only the increases approved for one-year renewals; the board always approves a higher number for two-year leases. Also, in years when the board made special allowances for heating costs, like charging a higher amount to tenants who did not pay for their own heat, this chart reports the smaller number. For instance, in 1980, a tenant who paid her own heat could have received a 5 percent rent hike, but tenant who did not could have seen an 11 percent jump in rent. To see the full details of the RGB’s history, click here.
There are other oddities, too: In 1968, the board approved increases to cover a two-year period. And, of course, major capital improvements, individual apartment improvements, preferential rents and vacancy bonuses mean that the increase in rent for a specific apartment could be quite different from what RGB approved for the system as a whole.