New York City

Rent Guidelines Board Votes to Increase Rent for Rent-Stabilized Apartments

The outcome was seen as a compromise; tenants wanted no increase and landlords wanted a higher increase

What to Know

  • Landlords can raise the rent 1.25 percent on one-year leases and 2 percent on two-year leases for rent-stabilized apartments
  • Landlords had wanted a higher increase, and tenants wanted a freeze on rent for the third year
  • The change in rent guidelines takes effect on Oct. 1

The city’s Rent Guidelines Board passed a rent increase for rent-stabilized New Yorkers — the first increase in two years.

The board voted 7-2 at a contentious meeting Tuesday night to allow landlords to increase rent for some 1.6 million people living in rent-stabilized apartments in New York City.

The board permitted a rent increase of 1.25 percent for one-year leases and a rent increase of 2 percent for two-year leases.

More than 200 people packed the meeting hall Tuesday, chanting and demanding rent be kept the same or lowered. They left disappointed. 

The outcome does not raise rent on all rent-stabilized apartments in the city, but allows landlords to raise rent by the percentage voted on.

The change in rent guidelines takes effect on Oct. 1.

Tuesday’s decision was seen as a compromise that frustrated both sides; tenants are mad rent is going up, and landlords say the increase isn’t high enough.

Two advocates for tenants on the board said the increase for one and two-year leases are the “best possible option” in lieu of the larger increases that landlords had wanted. Tenants in attendance wanted another freeze on rent.

Two advocates for landlords on the board were the only no votes. They wanted landlords to be able to raise rents higher. They argued that taxes and operating costs have gone up for building owners.

Melissa Grace, a spokesperson for Mayor de Blasio, released a statement more or less supporting the outcome, which avoided a larger increase in rent.

“We will never go back to the days when the landlord lobby got big rent hikes regardless of what the data said,” the statement read. “Taken together, the past four years have seen the lowest guidelines in history — including the first two freezes ever.”

In 2015, the board voted on a 0 percent increase for one-year leases — the city's first-ever "rent freeze." In 2016, it voted for another freeze on rent. 

At a preliminary vote in April, the board had recommended 3 percent and 4 percent increases on one and two-year leases.

Under the new guidelines, a rent-stabilized tenant paying $2,500 per month will see his or her rent go up $30 per month. For those paying $2,500 on two-year leases, the rent will go up by $50 per month. 

Jaime Steinberg, of the Bronx, was furious after Tuesday's vote. He says he can't afford the increase that was passed. 

"I'm retired with $1,000," he said. "I gotta pay my rent, food and everything."

Jack Freund, of the Rent Stabilization Association, a group representing landlords, was also angry, but for a different reason. He said building owners are being squeezed.

"It's a totally inadequate increase in terms of real estate taxes that constantly go up and other operating costs," Freund said. "Owners can't maintain their real estate taxes and maintain their buildings."

That's no consolation for Steinberg, who worries he's being priced out of New York. 

"They're killing the ones that can't defend themselves," Steinberg said. 

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