Board Approves Rent Hikes

Thursday, June 21, 2012

buildings on East 116th Street between Lexingon and Park where the first floor is rented commerically but the several former residential apartment floors are boarded up. (Bob Hennelly/WNYC)

The city's Rent Guidelines Board voted Thursday night to increase rents for the nearly 1 million rent stabilized apartments in the city.

The board, by a vote of 5-4, approved raises of 2 percent or $20 for one-year leases and a 4 percent or $40 for two-year leases. Individual raises in rent depend on whichever number is greater.

The increase impacts releases signed or renewed starting in October.

The always-raucous vote pits landlords against tenants with both sides trying to make the case they’re financially strapped. They were considering rent hikes of 1.75 to 4 percent on one-year leases and 3.5 to 6.75 percent on two-year leases.

The approved increases were on the low end of the proposed increases, which extended as high as 4 percent for one-year leases and 6.75 percent for two-year leases.

According to studies conducted by the Rent Guidelines Board, the majority of rent-stabilized tenants cannot afford their apartments.

The same studies showed that the cost to operate a rent-stabilized apartment building went up by 2.8 percent in 2012. 

Last year, the board raised rents 3.75 percent on one-year leases and 7.25 percent on two-year leases.

Forty-five percent of all renters in the city live in rent-stabilized apartments. The median annual income for this group was $37,000 and their median rent was $1,160 a month in 2010, according to to the Rent Guideline Board.

The number of rent stabilized apartments has been decreasing in New York City.

Last year, there was a net loss of 6,000 apartments in large part because of a rule that allows landlords to convert their apartments to market rates once a monthly rent reaches $2,500.



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