Rent Hikes Coming for Stabilized Tenants

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Sadef Ali Kully

Tenant groups were pushing for a rent freeze.

The city’s Rent Guidelines Board voted Tuesday night to consider rent increases within the range of 0.5 to 2.75 percent for one-year leases and 1.5 to 3.75 percent for two-year leases on rent-stabilized apartments.

The vote was 5 to 4 in favor of increasing rent for apartments and loft housing units.

The final vote is scheduled to take place on June 25th.

Both votes were met with mixed reactions.

The landlord representative on the board, Patti Stone, said over the last several years, property taxes have gone up by 30 percent. Owners are underpaid after paying their bills from maintenance to gas. She said, as the crowd booed, that the take home pay for landlords was low and an increase was important for many of the good landlords in the city.

“We live in a capitalist society, where people go into business to make a profit, not break even. Owners have been under-compensated,” said Stone.

Stone proposed a 3.75 percent to 5.75 percent for one-year apartment leases and 4.75 to 6.75 percent for two-year leases.

The tenant representatives on the board, Leah Goodridge and Sheila Garcia, had proposed a 0.5 to 1 percent increase for one-year leases and a zero to one percent increase for two-year leases.

“We are in full awareness that we are living in a housing crisis,” said Garcia.

Dozens of tenant advocacy groups were in attendance to push for rent freeze, not increases.

“No more rent hikes was the theme of the day, and the reasons are wages are stagnant, there is displacement, gentrification, and a major affordability crisis in this city. We want rents frozen and this will go beyond the [Rent Guidelines Board] and all the way to Albany,” said Wasim Lone, Director for Housing Services at GOLES.

RGB executive director Andrew McLaughlin, “The preliminary vote is designed to give a sense of where the vote will end up.”

There will be five additional hearings with opportunities for public testimony between May and June. The final vote will held on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. in the basement of the Great Hall at Cooper Union 7 East 7th Street in Manhattan.

The proposal adopted by the board included no increase in rents for stabilized rooming houses and single-room occupancy buildings.

Since Bill de Blasio became mayor, the board has approved rent hikes for one-year leases of 1 percent (2014), 0 percent (2015), 0 percent (2016), 1.25 percent (2017) and 1.5 percent (2018).

The RGB is conducting its annual consideration of rent hikes as state lawmakers weigh potential reforms to the rent stabilization system before the law supporting it expires next month.

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