Rent Board votes for prelim. rent increases

May 4, 2011 4:47:58 AM PDT
The Rent Guidelines Board voted for preliminary rent increases of between 3 and 5.75% on one year leases and 6 and 9% on two year leases.

Michele van Saun pays $580 a month for her small, 2 bedroom, rent stabilized apartment in the East Village where she has lived for 40 years.

While $580 sounds likes a steal, she receives only $780 in disability.

It was the annual fireworks display at the Rent Guidelines preliminary meeting Tuesday night. This year in addition to heated outcries and chants, four protestors were arrested for chaining themselves to the door.

Despite all theatrics, the board voted for a hefty proposed rent hike.

On a 1 year lease, they voted for a 3 to 5.75% increase.

On 2 year leases, it would be a 6 to 9% increase.

And, another 1% increase if a rent controlled building is heated by oil.

There are 1 million rent stabilized apartments in New York City.

More than 300,000 of them rent for less than $600 a month.

While that is still a stretch for tenants like Michele, landlords argue it is a hardship for them too.

The board votes on the final hike next month.

The final vote is scheduled for June 27th.

State Senator Daniel Squadron released a statement Tuesday evening saying:

"The preliminary vote by the Rent Guidelines Board to increase rents by up to nine percent is nearly unprecedented and will make a tough time tougher for millions of tenants. It's another reminder that we need to renew and improve our rent laws now. We must end vacancy decontrol, fight fraud and abuse in so-called '1/40th' individual apartment increases and close loopholes that allow landlords to evict entire buildings for 'personal use.' We can't risk tenant protections by letting them linger until the frenzied end of the legislation session, when they are on the verge of expiration. It is time to extend and improve the rent laws now, to avoid the devastation and chaos that would result if the laws expired."

Thursday June 16, 2011 Public Hearing (Public Testimony)
NYC College of Technology Kiltgord Auditorium 285 Jay Street Brooklyn, NY
4:00 P.M.

Monday June 20, 2011 Public Hearing (Public Testimony)
The Great Hall at Cooper Union 7 East 7th Street at corner of 3rd Ave. (basement) New York, NY
10:00 A.M.

Monday June 27, 2011 Public Meeting (Final Vote)
The Great Hall at Cooper Union 7 East 7th Street at corner of 3rd Ave. (basement) New York, NY
5:30 P.M.