Board approves historically low hike for rent-stabilized apartments
Residents in about a million rent-stabilized apartments around the city will get a small rent hike come October 1.
After a raucous and delayed meeting, the Rent Guidelines Board voted 5-4 in favor of a 1 percent rent hike for tenants with one-year leases. Two-year leases will come with a 2.75 increase.
Observers speculated that the board might have approved a rent freeze for the first time since it was created in 1969, and which local leaders voiced support for as a means of helping working-class New Yorkers.
Hundreds rallied chanting “roll back” at Cooper Union on Monday evening to convince the board to approve a freeze.
“Tonight is about righting a wrong that previous boards have done,” board member and tenant representative Sheila Garcia said during the vote.
Ahead of the vote, landlord representatives criticized the prospect of a freeze as “radical” and potentially devastating to both tenants and owners if there was less or no additional money for upkeep.
The vote took about an hour longer than expected, with its nine members coming into the Great Hall at around 6:50 p.m.
In 2013, the board approved 4 percent increase for year-long leases, and a 2 percent increase the year before.
Immediately after the vote, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverto lamented the hike.
“While we appreciate that the increase was kept to a minimum, as our city’s housing crisis comes to a head, it’s crucial that we utilize every opportunity to fight for and preserve affordability for the New Yorkers who call this city home,” she said in a statement.
Earlier Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio — who in March appointed five of its current members — urged the board to make history with a zero percent hike, calling for a “course corrcction.”
De Blasio spokesman Wiley Norvell called the end result “the best option” at the moment.
“While Mayor de Blasio believed that a one-year freeze and a 3 percent raise on two-year leases was the best option for New Yorkers struggling in the affordability crisis, the administration is heartened that the RGB heeded calls to keep any increase at a historic low,” Norvell said.
The board also voted 5-4 for a rent freeze on single-room occupancy units and hotels.
Follow Chester Jesus Soria on Twitter @chestersoria