Rent Guidelines Board Hears Testimony Over Proposed Rent Hikes

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06/13/2012 11:33 PM

By: NY1 News

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The Rent Guidelines Board held another hearing on proposed hikes for the city’s nearly one million rent-regulated apartments.

The rent board heard testimony from only a handful of people over a proposed range of hikes for leases signed or renewed starting in October.

One-year leases could go up between 1.75 and 4 percent.

Two-year leases could jump between 3.5 and 6.75 percent.

Property owners said the increases help cover costs, but tenants say it’s too much.

“This rent board last year passed enormous rent hikes,” said tenant Barry Soltz. “It is unfair to tenants. We’re in an economic recession. Landlords need to start paying their fair share.”

“We come here every year to seek justice from this terrible system that we have,” said Chris Athineos, a Brooklyn property owner. “Owners are just looking to meet their costs. They keep raising the water and sewer, the real estate taxes.”

The rent board will make a final decision on June 21.

 

Source: NY1

Report from the RGB Front

Summary of RGB Meeting May 31, 2012

The NYC Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) held a public meeting to review two RGB staff reports (Housing Changes and Housing Supply) and to hear testimony from two City and State agencies ( the State’s Office of Rent Administration and NYC Department of Finance.

Several points were raised which support the housing industry’s request for rent guidelines higher than those proposed in the Preliminary Guideline Proposal. For example, the Housing Changes report showed that, for the second year in row, the number of units removed from the rent stabilization system because of high-rent decontrol has declined (from 13,557 in 2009 to 11,364). This is important because tenant advocates have argued that an increasing number of fair market apartments meant that owners did not need increases on their stabilized units (ignoring the fact that the vast majority of deregulated apartments were in Manhattan).

DHCR’s testimony and response to questions highlighted several facts that the RGB should take under consideration:

  • DHCR granted only 65% of the total MCI dollars applied for 2011, indicating that owners are spending substantial sums on improvements for which they are not being compensated.
  • No owners filed for hardship applications in 2011, likely because DHCR acknowledged that hardship applications take years to process and are ultimately denied.
  • DHCR also acknowledged that it was still investigating whether government mandated improvements such as backflow preventer devices and heating plant conversions should be eligible for MCI rent increases