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Lease Renewal Rates Increase After Heated Rent Guidelines Board Meeting

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More than one million rent-regulated city apartments will see hikes in lease renewal rates following a vote by the Rent Guidelines Board at Cooper Union Monday night. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.

A few dozen protestors gathered outside Cooper Union Monday calling for no rent hike.

“How could I have been a professor at CUNY if I didn't have a rent stabilized apartment?” said Gloria Waldman, a Stuyvesant Town resident.

Owners of buildings were scarce, but their representatives said they believe the majority of these tenants can afford an increase.

“Prices have increased by over six percent as measured by the board, so owners need to get that six percent back,” said Jack Freund of the Rent Stabilization Association.

Inside, the debate began among nine members of the Rent Guidelines Board, all appointed by the mayor.

Five represent the public, two represent building owners and two represent tenants.

When an owners' representative talked, opponents in the audience shouted him down.

“Shame, shame,” they cried.

His proposal of an up to 10 percent increase was defeated. So was a proposal for no increase from a tenant's representative.

In the end, the chairman's proposal passed.

It raises rents by 3.75 percent for one-year leases and 7.25 percent for two-year leases.
It affects leases renewed or signed on or after October 1.

Tenants say their expenses keep going up and their incomes keep going down.

“I do [think I’ll have to move] next time around, because this is way beyond what I expected to be able to pay in my old age on a more fixed income,” said tenant advocate Joan Roth.

Those representing building owners said it's the same story for them.

“Many of the owners who are suffering are the small guys, not the big guys of Manhattan, and if they don't have the resources to pay for these expenses, ultimately what you're going to find is the building itself is going to deteriorate because they don't have the money to fix it up, and ultimately the tenants who live in those buildings are going to be harmed,” said Joe Strasburg, president of the Rent Stabilization Association.

The board also approved an increase of three percent on rents for permanent residents of hotels and single room occupancies, often called SROs.

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