Wednesday, July 30, 2014

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RGB-Approved Rent Hike Leaves Both Renters & Property Owners Dissatisfied

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The Rent Guidelines Board ignored calls for a rent freeze on rent-stabilized apartments Monday, voting to raise rents 1 percent on one-year leases and 2.75 percent on two-year leases. Renters and property owners both expressed dismay following the 5-4 vote. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.

The Rent Guidelines Board approved a maximum increase of 1 percent on one-year leases and 2.75 percent on two-year leases to rent stabilized apartments.

About 200 of the renters and their advocates cheered and jeered before during and after the public meeting.

Many of them do not like the outcome.

"The board really didn't do a good job and analyzing the whole situation, they have been profiting the last 40 years and people have been suffering," said Stevenson Nurse of New York Communities for Change.

"In South Bronx, over half the renters pay half their income or more in rent each month and it's insane," said one attendee.

There are almost one million rent-stabilized apartments in the city, that's close to half of all rental units.


Owners of those apartments also expressed dismay.

"Just real estate taxes, owners have to pay 2.8 percent more this year to pay their real estate tax bills. One percent doesn't even compensate owners for that," said Jimmy Silber of the Rent Stabilization Association.

The group representing the 25,000 property owners affected by the decision believes the process is political.

"As soon as Bill de Blasio ran for mayor in October and promised in his campaign that he was going to have a rent freeze and then won, it changed the whole dynamics of this process," Silber said.

They cite the board's own data, which shows landlord expenses went up more than five percent last year.

The Board Chair, Rachel Godsil, insists she did her due diligence, however.

"They claim a political process. I reject that completely. I know this is a data-driven process and one that respected and was concerned with tenants and owners," Godsil said.

Mayor de Blasio says he wanted a freeze, but he's heartened that the increase is an historic low.

Mayors appoint the members of the Rent Guidelines Board and de Blasio has appointed six so far.

By next year, he will have appointed all nine. We'll see what happens then.

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