NYC Rent Guidelines Board votes to increase rent 1.25 percent for 1-year lease, 2 percent for 2-year

Josh Einiger Image
Wednesday, June 28, 2017
NYC Rent Guidelines Board votes to increase rent
Josh Einiger has more from Gramercy Park.

GRAMERCY PARK, Manhattan (WABC) -- New York City's Rent Guidelines Board voted to increase rent 1.25% for one year leases and 2 percent for two year leases.

There was a lot of yelling, and not a lot of listening - there were voracious advocates for landlords.

"Owners are not going to have enough money to pay their taxes and maintain their buildings, and these poor tenants are going to be living in deteriorated conditions and have fewer housing options," said Jack Freund.

And for tenants?

"The claims that they're hurting and need bigger increases to maintain their buildings is fake news. There is nothing to support that," says tenant advocate Tim Collins.

In a city that's more expensive than ever, lost in the shouting are stories from both sides.

Marietta Hawkes lives in StuyTown on fixed income, and can't even afford to take her cats to the vet.

"I pay 45 percent of my income to rent. I can't go to the doctor, can't pay the co-pays. We're just struggling," Hawkes says.

Joe Ray owns a modest six-unit building on Staten Island. His taxes have never been higher.

"These people who are small, small property, small buildings, majority of them has big problems. Majority," Ray added.

At stake - a million apartments regulated by the nine-member rent guidelines board whose own internal report estimated an increase in landlord costs of just over six percent this year. This is why tenant representatives did not fight for a rollback or even a freeze - instead they passed a hike of 1.25 percent for one-year leases and 2 percent for two-year leases. That is too much for the tenants and not enough for the landlords, which means no one was happy.