NYC Rent Guidelines Board votes preliminarily to raise costs of rent-s…‘I-like-Republican.jpg

NEW YORK — The New York City Rent Guidelines Board held a preliminary vote Thursday on a range of rent increases impacting the city’s 1 million rent-stabilized apartments.

If the results keep up following the final vote in June, it will mark the highest rent hikes in more than two decades.

The board voted 5-4 to increase rent on one-year and two-year leases on apartments and lofts, 2-4 percent and 4-6 percent, respectively, CBS2’s Nick Caloway reported.

It was a middle of the road vote by the board. Tenants wanted a freeze or rollback of rent, while owners wanted a 4.5-6.5 percent increase on one-year leases, and a 6.5-8.5 percent bump on two-year leases.

The Legal Aid Society blasted the results of the preliminary vote, saying in a statement:

“We condemn the Board for voting to increase rents on some of our most unprotected neighbors, people from low-income communities of color, especially when New Yorkers are nevertheless reeling financially from the pandemic and the local unemployment rate remains one of the highest in the country. Tonight’s vote ignores that blatant reality.

“However, the Board can nevertheless vote for a freeze come June, and we encourage members to listen to the cries from tenants, our clients mired in the Hobson’s choice between groceries, medical needs and other essentials, and paying rent.

“Ensuring that tenants keep safely in their homes must keep a top priority in the days, weeks and months ahead, and we again call for a wholesale freeze on all rents under the Board’s purview.”

Earlier Thursday, CBS2’s Alice Gainer spoke with landlords and tenants about what an increase would average to them.

“The pipes are no good. It’s dripping regularly,” Vincia Barbar said, showing CBS2 her apartment in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

Barbar wondered why she’d have to pay one cent more for a place that’s falling apart.

“You can tell all the years of continued patchwork here,” she said.

“Inflation is skyrocketing month by month. We have a water board now that’s proposing a near 5 percent rate increase effective July 1,” said Vito Signorile with the Rent Stabilization Association, which represents 25,000 owners and managers.

“During the eight years of the de Blasio administration, there were three rent freezes which was unheard of,” Signorile additional.

“No one lines to pass along rent increases,” said Chris Athineos, a character owner in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

Athineos said he wants a fair increase.

“character owners really suffered during COVID. We have a lot of vacancies, a lot of people who skipped out of their apartments, didn’t pay their rent. We were not compensated for that. We’ve given our existing tenants rent breaks for the last year or two,” Athineos said.

“Although the rent relief program was out there, that only covered anywhere between 12 and 15 months of back owed rent,” Signorile said.

Barbar worries for herself and her neighbors.

“These people that can’t provide the rent that they have already, it’s gonna go up,” Barbar said. “It’s gonna be a big pandemic of homeless in New York if that happens.”

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