New York City’s Rent Guidelines Board is looking to increase the rent in nearly one million rent-stabilized apartments. The 9-member board, which is appointed by Mayor Eric Adams, met on Thursday, April 27th, to discuss matters regarding rental increments. According to reports from CBS News and the NY Post, the board is suggesting an increase of 8.25% for year-long leases, while a 15.75% increase has been suggested for a two-year lease. The proposed increases have not been finalized, with the public having a chance to express their opinions on the matter on Tuesday, May 2nd. A final decision will have to be voted on by July 1st. The increases in rent have been attributed to the high operational costs of owning and maintaining an apartment or building.
On the same day, the Rent Guidelines Board met on April 27th, groups of tenants protested outside the building the rental increase discussions were taking place. The group of protesters was made up of varying groups with representatives present from Chinatown Tenants Union and the Stuyvesant Town—Peter Cooper Village Association.
“The rent is beyond our income,” said Yang Hong of the Chinatown Tenants Union. “If they increase the rent, low-income tenants will really suffer. There will be a part of us that will be able to afford our rent, there will be a part of us who will lose our homes.”
The increase in rent cost will be the highest seen in decades according to Leah Goodridge, who is a former Rent Stabilization Board member. Goodridge said the last time she had seen such a high increase was in the 1990s.
While tenants bemoaned the touted increase, landlords deemed it necessary. Michael Tobman, membership director for the Rent Stabilization Association, said the increase is needed in order to sustain livable conditions for tenants. “Ever-escalating energy costs, property taxes are the biggest driver, insurance costs. The list of what building managers and owners have to pay only grows,” Tobman said.
The association reportedly represents 26,000 members who own approximately 1 million rent-stabilized apartments in New York City.
“The majority of RSA’s membership are actually owners of smaller buildings, from between six and 20 units, in every neighborhood, in every borough in New York City,” he added. “And our owners are deeply, deeply diverse, every ethnicity, race, gender.”
The possible increase in rent cost and the high percentage raise is a concerning state of affairs regarding the provision of affordable housing in the city. The discussions on May 2nd, leading up to the final decision regarding the increase, will likely be tense as tenants and landlords speak for their respective sides.