Bill de Blasio Is Actually Not Cool With Rent Increases

 

By Ross Barkan

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio would like everyone to know that, despite a report indicating otherwise, in his view, the rent is actually too damn high.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The confusion began when the New York Post reported today that Mr. de Blasio, one of the most liberal candidates in the mayors race, was opposed to freezing rents on rent-stabilized properties. The story quoted a de Blasio aide expressing the public advocate’s concern about the potential impact on small landlords, and reported that he had not called on the Rent Guidelines Board to keep rents from increasing. All of his Democratic rivals had made such a call.

However, Mr. de Blaso, probably unhappy about being labeled the “unexpected new champion” of landlords, blasted out a statement later in the morning that blamed a spokesperson for having “mischaracterized” his position on rent increases. He said he actually believes just the opposite.

“At a time when nearly half of our city’s residents are living in or near poverty, we cannot continue to put additional financial burdens on poor and working New Yorkers,” Mr. de Blasio said in the  statement. “The Rent Guidelines Board must freeze rent increases when it meets next month. And I renew my call for the RGB to hold hearings in the five boroughs, instead of its one planned meeting in Manhattan. If the RGB’s members could hear directly from the people, as I have, they would know we cannot place additional hardships on renters in New York.”

The spokesman, Wiley Norvell, subsequently told Politicker that the mix-up had been entirely his fault and not his boss’s.

“It was my miscommunication,” he said. “I was unclear of the position he had taken. The mistake was on me.”

 

Source: Politicker

“Government actually stimulated homelessness.”

While tenant advocates at the Rent Guidelines Board continually point to rising homelessness as an indicator of housing affordability problems, it is interesting that at least one advocacy group for the homeless believes that, through its re-housing policies, “government actually stimulated homelessness.”

 

       – Jack Freund

 

Additional Sources:

Report: New Mayor Should Stop Re-Housing the Homeless- City Limits, 4/23/13

If Preliminary Vote Is Any Indication, Rent Hikes Coming To NYC Apartments

 

April 30, 2013 10:07 PM

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A preliminary decision was issued Tuesday for raising the rents on rent-stabilized apartments in New York City.

As 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon reported, the New York City Rent Guidelines Board decided on a 3.25 percent to 6.25 percent increases for one-year leases, and 5 percent to 9.5 percent increases on two-year leases. But the decision is just preliminary.

The board is made up of tenant members, property owners, and members of the public. The tenant members argued for a rent freeze and a 0 percent increase, talking about the cost of living in the city and the fact that many people in rent-stabilized apartments are on a fixed income.

Harvey Epstein, who represents tenants on the board, said the proposed increase range is far too high.

“One-size-fit-all answers don’t work here, so if there’s a small bunch of landlords, that need help, let’s figure out a solution for them,” he said.

Property owners talked about how expensive it is to operate a building in the city. They asked for 7 percent and 11 percent increases, respectively.

Jack Freund, vice president of the Rent Stabilization Association, said only a small number of apartments have high turnover and rent at market value.

“And of course, the apartments that are well below market rate may be renting for less than the cost of operation,” Freund said. “They don’t turn over.”

While Rent Guidelines Board meetings have been heated in the past, meetings on preliminary rent hikes have seen fewer and fewer attendees as people save their tonsils for the final vote later.

As usual, the vote on the preliminary decision on the rent hikes was 5 to 4. The final decision will be made June 30.

 

Source: CBS New York