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Rent Guidelines Board Approves Preliminary Range Of Rent Hikes

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TWC News: Rent Guidelines Board Approves Preliminary Range Of Rent Hikes
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The Rent Guidelines Board voted 5-4 for proposed rent increases for the city's one million rent-regulated apartments at its meeting at Cooper Union Tuesday night.

The board wants a 3 to 5.75 percent hike on one-year leases and a 6 to 9 percent hike on two-year agreements.

They also approved a 1 percent heating fuel surcharge.

It would be the largest increase since 2008 on the city's one million rent-regulated apartments.

Tenants who spoke with NY1 at the meeting were mostly disappointed.

"It's disgusting. It's a shame," said a tenant.

"Landlords are making big profits and then the tenants are being squeezed. It's as simple as that. They don't deserve diddly," said another.

Landlords, meanwhile, said rising fuel costs have squeezed them hard.

One study found landlords paid more than six percent more to run their buildings over the past year.

Rising fuel prices are to blame in most cases, with heating oil shooting up 23 percent.

The president of a landlords' advocacy group said even if these rent increases pass, they will not cover the costs.

"They only recognize fossil fuels, which is oil, number two to six oil, and ignored the fact that many buildings in the City of New York are heated by steam, electricity and natural gas. For that, they have not even recognized an increase to compensate owners of those costs," said President Joe Strasberg of the Rent Stabilization Association.

Tenant advocates said the numbers are inflated and unaffordable for middle-class New Yorkers.

"This is going to be a tough year. The economy hasn't gotten better for tenants," said Rent Guidelines Board tenant representative Adriene Holder.

"This city is exciting because all different people get to live here. It's not just a city for the very wealthy with enclaves for the poor, but there is a big, wide middle," said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. "And we're losing that middle every time you put huge rent increases up there or you tinker with the rent laws."

The final vote on the rent hikes comes on June 27.

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