During a packed and contentious meeting on Tuesday, the Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) held a preliminary vote to increase rents for rent-stabilized apartments.
The RGB voted to approve an increase of 0.5 to 2.75 percent for one-year leases and 1.5 to 3.75 percent for two-year leases.
Prior to the meeting, tenants and affordable housing advocates rallied to urge the Board to avoid a rent increase.
“I’ve had up to three jobs to be able to pay my rent,” Gloribel Castillo, a resident of the Bronx who lives in a rent stabilized unit, said.
Last year, the Board followed the range approved in the preliminary vote, allowing increases of 1.5 percent on one-year leases and 2.5 percent on two-year leases to move forward.
Advocates and tenants who attended the hearing cheered over a proposal by tenant representatives Sheila Garcia and Leah Goodridge for a rent rollback—they proposed a -0.5 rollback to 0 percent increase for one year leases and 0 to one percent for two-year leases. As activists chanted “higher rent has got to go,” the Board voted against that motion.
“I’m disappointed that the rent rollback proposal did not pass,” Goodridge, told Curbed. “I’m hopeful that by the time we have a final vote in June, and we hear a lot of testimony from tenants, that the board will have a change of mind.”
On the other hand, citing increased costs, the landlord’s side proposed a rent hike of 3.75 to 5.75 percent for one-year leases and 4.75 to 6.75 percent for two-year leases. That motion didn’t pass either.
“Our mandate is not to make sure landlords continue to profit, it is to simulate a fair market for both tenants and landlords, like other cities have,” Garcia said. “This is why I’m asking for us to change the conversation from rent increases to rent adjustments.”
The final vote will be held on June 25.