Patch: Rent Hikes Approved For NYC's Rent-Stabilized Apartments

Some tenants of New York City's rent-stabilized apartments could see their rents increase more than 2 percent this fall. The Rent Guidelines Board voted Tuesday to allow landlords to hike rents by 1.5 percent for one-year leases and 2.5 percent for two-year leases starting Oct. 1.

The increases will impact about 630,000 of the city's 966,000 rent-stabilized apartments, board Executive Director Andrew McLaughlin said. They were lower than the maximum hikes of 2.75 percent and 3.75 percent that the board voted to consider in April.

But they weren't low enough for tenant advocates who demanded a rent freeze at a time when many New Yorkers are struggling to stay in their homes.

"While we are in the midst of an affordable housing shortage and burgeoning homelessness crisis, it is mystifying that the Board voted to raise rents on the poorest residents for a second consecutive year," said Adriene Holder, a top Legal Aid Society attorney and former Rent Guidelines Board member, in a statement.

The latest guidelines also displeased landlords, who say the board hasn't allowed them to raise rents enough to keep up with increasing costs.

The board's vote came during a reportedly rowdy meeting at Cooper Union where tenants protested plans for a rent hike.

This year's increases are larger than what the board has typically approved since Mayor Bill de Blasio took office in 2014. Last year, the board approved hikes of up to 1.25 percent for one-year leases and 2 percent for two-year leases after freezing rents on single-year leases for two straight years.

The Rent Stabilization Association, a landlords group, had called for hikes of 4 percent on one-year leases and 7 percent on two-year leases. The Rent Guidelines Board's own data shows a 4.5 percent increase in landlords' operating costs this year, while property taxes have risen 31 percent in the past five years, said Joseph Strasburg, the association's president.

"Landlords of rent-stabilized apartments cannot repair, maintain and re-invest in their quality affordable housing, and pay their ever-increasing taxes, when de Blasio has a stranglehold on their primary source of income," Strasburg said in a statement.

But board member Leah Goodridge told The New York Times that landlords still could have profited if rents were frozen again for one-year leases, as she had proposed.

"Housing is the most profitable gain right now, and tenants are the ones losing the most and the fastest," tenant Amy Collada said, according to NY1.