The New York City Rent Guidelines Board voted Monday night to extend last year’s rent freeze for an additional year. The nine-member board passed the motion 7-0. Two board members representing building owners abstained from voting.
As part of the rent freeze, New Yorkers with a one-year rent-stabilized lease will pay the same rent as before. But those with two-year leases will see a 2 percent rent increase.
Around 1.6 million people living in rent-stabilized apartments with leases that must be renewed between Oct. 1, 2016 and Sept. 30, 2017 will be affected by the decision, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio. In a statement, he said these New Yorkers “will now have more security and a better shot at making ends meet” because of the rent freeze.
In addition, building owners will remain protected because “declining fuel costs have offset other expenses,” the mayor added.
Roughly 400 people attended the public board meeting at The Great Hall at Cooper Union. Several of them represented tenant advocacy groups, including Community Action for Safe Apartments (CASA) and The Mirabal Sisters Cultural and Community Center Inc., a Manhattan-based nonprofit that supports poor and low-income families.
The crowd of attendees demanded a rent rollback, saying the cost of city living has increased even though their incomes haven’t. But the motion for a -4 percent rent decrease for one-year leases and a -2 percent decrease for two-year leases failed 7-2.
Althea Matthews, a member of CASA, said she was a little disappointed with the board’s decisions.
“The people of New York deserve a rent rollback,” said Matthews, who is homeless and lives by Crotona Park North in the Bronx. “And it should’ve been a two-year freeze instead of one year.”