Guidelines Board again denies pleas for rent freeze
BY JEFFERSON SIEGEL | Last Thursday night, at a slightly less contentious, but no less vocal, gathering than in recent years, the city’s Rent Guidelines Board voted to approve rent increases of 2 percent for a one-year lease and 4 percent for a two-year lease. The hikes apply to the state’s nearly 1 million rent-stabilized apartments and take effect with leases starting Oct. 1.
In a meeting lasting just under two hours, tenants again booed and jeered whenever a landlord representative of the board tried to make a case for higher rents due to increased costs.
Occupy Wall Street supporters were in attendance. Whenever a landlord representative tried to speak, an audience member was quick to call a “mic check” before ticking off a list of tenant expenses that he or she said should negate the need for any rent increase at all.
Many in the crowd bore signs reading “0%.” A handful of landlord representatives, who sat off to one side of The Cooper Union’s Great Hall, had wanted increases of 5 percent and 9 percent.
Adriene Holder, a tenant representative on the R.G.B., voiced the frustrations of many city renters.
“It’s just so much that these households just cannot continue to bear,” she lamented.
The board’s final vote was 5 to 4. Identical increases will also apply to rent-stabilized loft spaces.