The battle lines over the Rent Guidelines Board’s annual decision on rent hikes for the city’s roughly one million rent-stabilized apartments were drawn decades ago. Each year, tenant advocates push for a halt to rising rents, or a rollback. Landlords press for increases.
Rarely has the board’s decision loomed as large as this year, with record-high unemployment and COVID-19’s impact rippling through the economy.
The RGB took its preliminary vote Thursday at 7 p.m. You can watch it here.
The board voted to authorize a rent freeze on one-year leases and the first year of two-year leases, with the second year on those leases capped at 1 percent.
The preliminary vote sets the stage for the hearings and meetings that follow—culminating in a final vote in June.
Mayor de Blasio has called for the board to freeze rents (which it did twice earlier in his tenure). If adopted, the decision would represent the third year rents have been frozen under de Blasio.
The Real Estate Board of New York, meanwhile, has called for a 2.4 percent increase on one-year leases. That would be the largest in five years.
“We all can see the challenges our city is facing so we are relying on sound government strategies that will solve – not create more – problems. Policies that jeopardize a property owner’s ability to pay for basic maintenance or renovations only jeopardize the safety of tenants, exacerbate the affordable housing crisis, contribute to economic job loss and, ultimately, will saddle the City with budget shortfalls for years to come. We can’t afford to get this wrong,” Paimaan Lodhi, senior vice president of policy and planning at REBNY, said in a statement.
According to RGB research, landlords’ net operating income dropped slightly in 2017-2018 (by 0.06 percent)—he first drop since right after September 11.
But in testimony delivered at Tuesday’s RGB hearing, Oksana Mironova of the Community Service Society of New York (a City Limits funder) argued: “While tenants’ real wages have stagnated over the past few decades, landlord incomes have continued to grow. Even though the NOI declined slightly since last year, it has grown significantly over a longer timeframe, increasing by 48.7 percent above inflation since 1990.”
The remainder of the board’s hearing schedule has been announced:
Wednesday, May 27, 9:30 a.m.: Public Meeting. Viewers can watch it via YouTube or listen using a telephone. (Details to be posted later.)
Wednesday, June 10, 4-7 p.m.: Public Hearing. This is a virtual Public Hearing where the public can testify live. The public can also submit written, video and voice comments prior to the hearing. (Registration and further details to be posted later.)
Thursday, June 11, 6-9 p.m.: Public Hearing. This is a virtual Public Hearing where the public can testify live. The public can also submit written, video and voice comments prior to the hearing. (Registration and further details to be posted later.)
Wednesday, June 17, 7 p.m.: Final Vote. Viewers can watch it via YouTube or listen using a telephone. (Details to be posted later.)