The New York City Rent Guidelines Board voted to freeze rents for millions of city residents, as tenants and landlords continue to grapple with the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The 6-3 vote Wednesday night freezes rent on one-year leases signed after September 30 this year. The rent will also be frozen for the first year of two-year leases, with a one percent increase in the second year.
The rent freeze would apply to two million city residents who live in the nearly one million rent-stabilized apartments across New York City, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio, who cheered the result.
"2 million New Yorkers living in rent-stabilized apartments can breathe a little easier," de Blasio said on Twitter. "Now we have to KEEP fighting for more renter relief to help New Yorkers keep a roof over their heads."
In a statement following the vote, the mayor said that "renters have never faced hardship like this," and that this measure is just one step in helping tenants recover from the economic hardships the pandemic has created.
"They desperately need relief and that’s why we fought for this rent freeze," de Blasio's statement read. "This is one step of many we have to take to get families through this crisis—but it’s a big one.”
The vote marks the third rent freeze in nearly seven years.
In May, the board rejected a rent reduction that was proposed by tenant representations and rejected a rent increase proposed by groups who represents landlords.
Meanwhile, some tenant advocates say the freeze is not enough, calling for a two-year rent rollback. While the Legal Aid Society called the vote "devastating," the Rent Justice Coalition said that many Black, PoC, immigrant and low-income communities who have been hurt the most by COVID-19 will also be the ones hurt the most by not rolling back rent. The group called for the city and state to provide rent relief.