How to hold the line on affordable housing has been one of the most vexing questions facing city officials and residents, especially for the 1 million rent-stabilized apartments in the five boroughs. One year after the Rent Guidelines Board enacted an historic rent freeze, officials are looking to allow for some increase.
On June 27, the RGB board will take a final vote on a proposal that would allow one-year leases to stay at current rates or incur up to a 2 percent rent increase, while two-year leases would be subject to rent increases between .5 percent and 3.5 percent.
The Rent Guidelines Board, which consists of nine members who serve at the discretion of Mayor Bill de Blasio, voted 5-4 on that proposal. Led by Kathleen Roberts, a former United States magistrate judge chosen by de Blasio appointed to chair the board, the board incurred pushback from tenant groups who say the proposed percentage increase range is too high. Some tenants’ advocates were seeking another rent freeze or, more significant, rent rollbacks.
Meanwhile, representatives of landlord groups were seeking hikes of 4-to-6-percent on rent stabilized apartments. The board will hold five public hearings starting June 9 in Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Manhattan. The debates should be intense, as landlords and building owners seek revenue to maintain buildings and pay taxes, while tenants seek security in one of the country’s most expensive real estate rental market.