JAMAICA, Queens (WABC) -- The fates of 2 million people living in rent-stabilized buildings in New York City are about to be determined, depending on how large of a price hike is decided upon.
"Raising the rent would only lead to more homelessness on an already vulnerable population," Hailie Kim said.
Kim and her dog live in a rent-stabilized apartment in Sunnyside, Queens. She also works for a non-profit fighting for vulnerable tenants.
"Every time rent goes up, we should not be in fear of having to leave our homes," Kim said.
The Rent Guidelines Board held a public hearing in Jamaica Monday night to hear from tenants and landlords. It is the annual tug of war.
"Any rent increase is unacceptable and unconscionable," New York Senator Zellnore Myrie said.
On the other side, landlords argue that fixing buildings doesn't happen for free and operating costs are increasing.
Joanna Wong owns a modest six-story walk up on the Lower East Side. She was born and raised in the building and still lives there with her tenants.
"If buildings are not kept up to date, slowly they deteriorate and then no one wins," landlord Joanna Wong said.
It's hard for landlords to make their arguments. Many are drowned out by renters.
"This is not about owners and tenants," rent-stabilized landlord Chris Athineos said. "This is about creating and maintaining housing that is in many cases over 100 years old."
Last month, the board approved a proposal to raise rents.
That included 2 to 4 % for a one-year lease and 4 to 6% on a two-year lease.
"We each have balance sheet, monthly income, expenses," rent-stabilized tenant Carolyn Krupski said. "So, when you hear these rent increases are not affordable, it's because they're not."
There will be another public hearing on Wednesday in the Bronx, then the final vote next Tuesday.
It's pretty much a done deal that there will be increases next year. The suspense is whether they will be on the low or high end of the already approved range.
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