Landlords Call for Largest Hike in Rent Stabilized Buildings in 4 Years

Landlords on Thursday called for the city’s largest hike in rent stabilized buildings since 2013.

The Rent Stabilization Association proposed a 4 percent rent increase for one-year leases, and an 8 percent hike for two-year leases at Thursday’s hearing. 

The proposals come after consecutive years of rent freezes in 2016 and 2015 that the Rent Stabilization Association says has put pressure on landlords and depriving them of revenue they need to pay for rising property taxes.

The RSA says that while it appears rent freezes may be a plus for tenants, it only makes it tougher for landlords to maintain things such as repairs and keep up the quality of affordable apartments.

"These are the increases the building owners need in order to maintain and operate their buildings for the benefit of their tenants," RSA Executive Vice President Jack Freund said. 

Data for the Rent Guidelines Board shows operating costs for owners of rent stabilized apartments increased in excess of 11 percent over the past three years.

At the same time, the board limited rent increases to just 1 percent, including those two years of rent freezes.

Although the Rent Guidelines Board heard testimony from landlords on Thursday, they also heard from groups that represent tenants, who have been less than enthusiastic about the possibility of any increases in rent. 

"It's out of the question. It's ridiculous," Queens resident Willie Olivencia said. "People can hardly afford to eat these days. How are they expected to pay these outrageous rents?"

"Rent in New York is already expensive enough," Ambika Chanari, of Manhattan, said.

"It's fair to keep it down," Bronx resident Regis Pagett said. "People can barely afford to live here anyway." 

The guidelines board expected to cast a preliminary vote next Tuesday and a final vote sometime within the next few weeks.

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