The Rent Guidelines Board voted Tuesday to allow for rent hikes for rent-stabilized apartments in New York City.
"Greed, greed," tenant Amy Collada said. "Housing is the most profitable gain right now, and tenants are the ones losing the most and the fastest."
After weeks of public hearings, and facing a wave of protests from New Yorkers, the board voted 5-4 to allow for 1.5 percent increases for one-year lease renewals and a 2.5 percent increases for two-years a public meeting at Cooper Union's Great Hall in the East Village.
The rent increases can go into effect Oct. 1.
The board had been considering a .75 increase to 2.75 percent for one-year lease renewals, and an increase of between 1.75 and 3.75 percent for two-year lease renewals.
Some New Yorkers protested during the hearing, calling for a rent freeze, arguing that they cannot afford any more rent increases, saying they could push them out of their homes.
In 2017, the board voted to allow 1.25 percent and 2 percent hikes for one- and two-year leases, respectively. The two years prior, the board voted for a rent freeze.
Citing rising operating costs, landlords said they believe the increase is more than fair to tenants.
"Commercial is profiting, but not the thousands and thousands more buildings where a lot of poor people live and lower rent, the profit is very little," landlord Joseph Ray said.
But landlords can also permanently increase rent through Major Capital Improvements, the reason tenants say any increase by the Rent Guidelines Board only straps them more financially.
"When you combine all that and then you add a one-year or two-year increase, you're substantially impacting that family. I'm getting impacted. I worked my whole life as a professional," said Carmen Vega-Rivera, a rent-stabilized tenant. "I was born and raised in this city. Now I'm disabled. I'm on social security disability. I can't squeeze another cent out of the money."