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Rent Guidelines Board Approves 1 Percent Hike on One-Year Leases for Rent-Stabilized Apartments

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TWC News: Rent Guidelines Board Approves 1 Percent Hike on One-Year Leases for Rent-Stabilized Apartments
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The Rent Guidelines Board ignored calls for a rent freeze on rent-stabilized apartments Monday, voting to raise rents 1 percent on one-year leases and 2.75 percent on two-year leases.

The proposal passed by a 5 to 4 vote.

Mayor Bill de Blasio had called for the board to approve a rent freeze on one-year leases.

Proposals that the board could have voted for ranged from no hike to a 3 percent increase on one-year lease renewals, and a .5 to 4.5 percent increase for two-year leases.

Despite the mayor's call for a freeze, a spokesperson for City Hall praised the board for keeping rents low after the vote.

"While Mayor de Blasio believed that a one-year freeze and a 3 percent raise on two-year leases was the best option for New Yorkers struggling in the affordability crisis, the administration is heartened that the RGB heeded calls to keep any increase at a historic low," the spokesperson's statement read.

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito was less satisfied, saying in a statement, "It is disappointing that the Rent Guidelines Board voted in support of a rent increase, despite hours of testimony from concerned, hard-working New Yorkers fighting to make ends meet. While we appreciate that the increase was kept to a minimum, as our city's housing crisis comes to a head, it's crucial that we utilize every opportunity to fight for and preserve affordability for the New Yorkers who call this city home."

People on both sides seemed upset with how the vote went.

"The Rent Guidelines Board has been doing this for 40 years, and every year, the Rent Guidelines Board uses a methodology based on data that's presented to it," said Jimmy Silber, a board member with the Rent Stabilization Association and a landlord. "This is the first year that I can remember where the data was completely ignored. The Rent Guidelines Board decided votes on a purely political basis, and I think that's what's shameful about this whole process."

"I'm paying $1,080 for a one-bedroom apartment," said Stevenson Nurse of NY Communities for Change. "I can't really afford it, but I have to pay it. There are many other people who makes a salary of $400 per week and really cannot afford to pay these rents and increases, and I believe it's unfair for the landlords to continue to gouge our people when they know that they are struggling at this time."

The increases affect leases signed after October 1.

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