Rent Guidelines Board Proposes Historic Rent Freeze

Monday, May 05, 2014

Tenants called for a rent freeze (WNYC/Arun Venugopal)

The city's Rent Guideline Board took the unprecedented step of proposing a year-long rent freeze at the city's rent-regulated apartments. The board took a preliminary vote on Monday night at a raucous public meeting attended by hundreds of tenants and tenant advocates, many of whom pushed for a rent rollback.

"It feels like a really, a huge moment in the history of New York," said Harvey Epstein, one of several board members who were appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio. "We have the potential to get a rent freeze. We've never had that since 1969 [when the RGB was formed], so we have 45 years of history to look at."

The board voted to raise one-year leases by zero to three percent, and by 0.5 to 4.5 percent for two-year leases. Tenant advocates and owners alike say that historically, the final increase has tended to the lower end of the range.

Landlords opposed the proposal, arguing that it doesn't take into consideration rising operating expenses at buildings.

"Without adequate rent increases, owners cannot be expected to repair their buildings and maintain affordable housing," said Joseph Strasburg, the president of the Rent Stabilization Association, which represents 25,000 owners.

One building owner, Roger Melzer, said, "Real estate taxes are going up, water and sewer is going up, operating expenses are going up, fuel costs just skyrocketed this year with the severe winter we had."

The final vote will take place June 23, after six weeks of public input.


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Comments [2]

Serviced Apartments Resident

'landlords opposed the proposal' - shocker!

Jul. 22 2014 11:34 AM
Matthew Perez from New York, NY

Excuse me if this sounds ignorant, but I really don't have much sympathy for landlords and building owners. As a renter in NYC and someone who has family in "rent-controlled" apartments, I have seen despicable things done in attempt to boot people from their apartments. If the landlords want rent increases due to the things mentioned by Roger Melzer, they should have to provide an itemized list of expenses:

e.g., water is going up by 5%, from $100/gal to $105/gal, and so on and so forth, so tenants can clearly see for themselves what they're money is paying for. If the landlords are not willing to do that, then I stand with the tenants, and I have never known a landlord who wasn't trying to squeeze every last penny out of people who can't afford it.

Jun. 17 2014 03:38 PM

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