Heated meeting in plan to raise rent in NYC

May 6, 2008 4:49:04 AM PDT
The latest proposal to raise the rent in New York City is getting a thumbs down from tenants and landlords this morning. The fast-rising cost of living was the focus at a heated meeting Monday at the Rent Guidelines Board.Landlords wanted to raise rents 9 to 14 percent on 1 million rent-controlled and rent-stabilized apartment in New York.

Tenants, not surprisingly, were opposed to that.

In the end, the board voted to increase one-year leases by between 3.5 to 7 percent and two-year leases between 5.5 to 9.5 percent.

The final amounts for increases will be determined by a final vote, which will be held next month after a series of public hearings.

Last week, building owners asked for at least a double-digit increase, citing rising fuel, water and insurance costs.

"We haven't seen this kind of crisis since the early 80s," landlords spokesman Joseph Stasburg said. "Even the Department of Finance has recognized almost 11 percent of all rent-stabilized buildings in the city are operating in the red."

A report by the Rent Guidelines Board showed that overall operating costs have increased nearly 8 percent. But tenants say landlords are still making a healthy profit in the robust city real estate market.

They say living costs are up for everyone, and raising the rent will serve to drive out long-time tenants who can't afford to keep up with the increases.

"I think it's absolutely unbelievable," tenant Judy West said. "People can't afford to pay their rent now."