Thursday, 23 June 2016

Just Days Before Vote, Rent-Regulated Tenants Appeal For Another Freeze

The Rent Guidelines Board will vote to freeze or raise rent-stabilized rates next week

New York’s Rent Guidelines Board will vote next week to decide whether or not to continue last year’s historic rent freeze into 2016. This week, the board held its final public meeting before that vote, and DNAInfo reports that attendees pleading with the RGB to not only freeze rents, but to reduce prices as the rent-regulated audience claimed they "deserve a rent rollback."

According to DNA, a frequent criticism lodged at the RGB is that it "overcompensates landlords at the expense of tenants." In theory, the rent freeze—which would apply only to rent-stabilized apartments—would help remediate this problem.

But in the audience countering this claim was an owner of two co-operative apartments who stated it was simply unprofitable to be a landlord under a continued rent freeze or a potential rent roll back. "No one will buy an apartment that is losing money," he told the board. "If I sell it it will be to a slumlord." (Perhaps he failed to account for decreased fuel costs, which have prevented roughly 7.5 percent in taxes and 3.2 percent in labor costs in the last year?)

Among the elected officials arguing for a freeze were City Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council member Helen Rosenthal. And the wait for a decision isn’t too far off: The RGB will hold its final vote next Monday at Cooper Union’s Great Hall at 6:30 p.m.


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