The rent guidelines board voted on a proposal that could once again freeze rents on many rent regulated apartments. But that was not enough for tenants who said their rent is way too high. Our Manhattan reporter Michael Scotto has the story.
There were tense moments at the Rent Guidelines Board meeting Tuesday night, where members voted 5-4 to preliminarily freeze or raise rents on the city's one million rent stabilized apartments later this year.
For one-year leases, the board recommended rents stay flat or increase by no more than 2%.
For two-year leases, members suggested rents increase by .5% to 3.5%
Tenants looking for a rent rollback were furious.
"We wait 18 years to move the kids out and now we have to move the whole family back in the house to help with the rent," said Tyrone Whitaker. "We don't need no rent hike."
"People in one bedroom apartments have to live with roommates," said Raphael Schweizer. "People in two-bedroom apartments have to have two roommates."
Tenant advocates rallied before the meeting to push for rents to be scaled back — a proposal that was later rejected.
Last year, the board voted for the first time ever to freeze rents. However, tenants said they needed more help to offset rising costs for everything else.
"There are too many people who have to choose between groceries and rents or groceries and prescription pills and drugs and rent," said Fred Newton.
Tenants argued landlords saw their expenses drop this year, thanks to a decline in oil and gas prices.
But landlords argued that mandates and taxes have made actually made running a building more expensive.
"This troublesome tax growth is an inequitable that punishes rental buildings and favors single family home owners throughout the city," said Scott Walsh, a member of the Rent Guidelines Board.
This was just the preliminary vote. Over the next several weeks, there will be five public hearings where tenants and landlords can comment on the proposal. On June 27 the board will hold its final vote.