Rent Guidelines Board Votes to Freeze Rents for One-Year Leases

Many people who live in rent-stabilized apartments will not be shelling out more every month. However, some tenants still are not happy with the board that fixes those rates. NY1 Manhattan reporter Michael Scotto explains.

There were some rowdy moments at the Rent Guidelines Board meeting Monday, as members approved the second straight rent-freeze for the city's 1.6 million rent stabilized tenants.

Tenants looking for their rents to decrease came away annoyed.

"They're not taking the overall picture," said one tenant. "That's why you saw so many tenants your phone outcry to let the city know that you are selling us out."

"The tenants in New York City are struggling because their salaries are not going up," said another.

The 7-to-0 vote, with two abstentions, by a panel appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio, means rents for one year leases will remain flat, while rents for two year leases will go up by 2%.

There was a plan to roll back rents — with tenants citing statistics showing that landlords' fuel costs had declined the past year. That proposal was swiftly rejected.

"While I understand those arguments, I think it would be inappropriate to base an unprecedented rollback on one aberrational cost factor," said board member Kathleen Roberts.

Another proposal to increase rents by 3% on one year leases and 5% on two year leases was also shot down. Landlords said they need the extra money to offset rising expenses.

"Landlords get the short end of the stick," said Aida Gashi with the group Landlords NY. "People don't understand that landlords aren't all multi-mega millionaires. Some of them are small business owners.

"That is essentially  what they are, mom and pop shops, trying to operate their businesses. And so much is being taken from them and nothing is being given back to them."

Tenants will be able to renew their leases at the newly approved rates beginning October 1. They are vowing, though, to come back again next year to push for rents to finally be reduced.

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