Rents will go up by 1% for New Yorkers in one-year rent-stabilized leases following a vote by the Rent Guidelines Board last night, disappointed many advocates who expected the first rent freeze in the board’s 45-year history.
The 1% increase for one-year leases is an historic low. The board’s 5-4 vote also hiked rents on two-year rent-stabilized leases by 2.75%.
“I'm disappointed,” said Harvey Epstein, associate director of the Urban Justice Center and a board member who voted against the rent increase. “The facts dictated that we would have a rent freeze...People will be suffering."
Supporters of the increases argued that they’re necessary to cover rising landlord expenses. Jack Freund, executive vice president of the Rent Stabilization Association, said a rent freeze would have been a loss for all parties.
“The tenants live in worse conditions, the city doesn't get the revenue it needs from the taxes,” he said.
Although Mayor Bill de Blasio had called for a rent freeze on one-year leases, “the administration is heartened that the [board] heeded calls to keep any increase at an historic low,” spokesman Wiley Norvell said in a statement.
The rate changes apply only to rent-stabilized apartments, not rent-controlled apartments. They’ll go into effect for leases signed after Oct. 1, according to the board’s rules.
Hundreds of tenants from across the city packed the Great Hall at Cooper Union for the board’s annual meeting. Holding posters, they chanted “cowards!” as the meeting drew to a close.
Derrick Richardson, who lives in the Bronx with his wife and son, said his household spends 80% of its income to pay for a 1-bedroom, $1000-a-month apartment.
"The sad thing is that your rent goes up, your cost of living goes up and your income isn't going up,” the 46-year-old welder said after the meeting. “You have to choose between eating and rent."
Last year the board voted to raise one-year leases by 4% and two-year leases by 7.75%. De Blasio, who appointed five of the board’s members this year, said there was a “pattern of unfairness,” with past rent increases.