Amidst a raucous atmosphere at Cooper Union's Great Hall last night?protesters snuck in hundreds of plastic whistles to get around the metal detectors?the nine-member Rent Guidelines Board approved (in a 5-4 vote) these increases on rent-stabilized apartments: 4.5% for one-year leases and 8.5% for two-year leases. For tenants who have been in their apartments for at least six years, landlords have the option of a $45/month rise for one-year leases, and $85/month for two-year leases. That's a bone thrown to small-time property owners, who often have long-term tenants paying $500 or $600 per month. It's the biggest combined increase since 1989, and the tenants did not go down without a fight. The speeches were drowned out by the whistles and shouting matches between tenants and landlords, and at least one 15-minute recess was called. Our favorite overheard remarks reported in the papers: "Landlords have loopholes! Tenants have hellholes!" "I call it a quiet Katrina. It's washing poor people out of the city." "Get your own place if you don’t like it!" Etc. Since the board's formation in 1969, it has never called for a rent freeze or decrease. According to the board's chairman, there will be plastic detectors in place next year.
· Board Backs Rise in Rent Up to 8.5% [NYT]
· Furor as Rent Board OKs an 8.5% Wallop [NYP]
· Rent Guidelines Board coverage [Curbed]