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


Owners of multi-family buildings pay the lion’s share of New York City property taxes

Real Estate WeeklyWe’re all miserable as rents and taxes continue to climb

10:56 AM, MAY 2, 2012

By Sarah Trefethen & Sabina Mollot

Owners of multi-family buildings pay the lion’s share of New York City property taxes, according to a recent analysis by New York University’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy.

The effective tax rate for larger rental buildings is five times the rate for one- to three-family homes, according to the findings, included in the center’s State of New York City’s Housing and Neighborhoods Report.


“As a result of the strong preference shown to homeowners at the expense of large rental properties, New York City imposes one of the highest tax burdens on apartment buildings of any large city in the country,” Vicki Been, director of the Furman Center, said in a statement. “Conversely, the tax on one- to three-family homes is one of the lowest in the country.”

The survey results were announced as the city’s Rent Guidelines Board unveiled its proposals for annual rent increase for the New York’s one million rent regulated apartments.

In proposing hikes from 1.75 to 6.75 percent, owner representative Steven Schleider said tenants need to “share the burden” of landlords’ rising fuel costs and property taxes.

In the 2011 fiscal year, the city collected nearly $17 billion from property owners, according to the Furman Center study, and 36 percent of that revenue came from taxes on apartment buildings – even though those buildings make up only 24 percent of the citywide market value.

At the same time, one-, two- and three-family homes make up 49 percent of the city’s real estate value but accounted for just 15 percent of the city’s property tax revenue. Continue reading

RGB Prelim Vote Did Not Take into Account Rising Operating Costs of Property Owners

NY 1

Updated 05/01/2012 11:37 PM

Rent Guidelines Board Approves Range For Rent Hikes

By: Natasha Ghoneim a million city rent-regulated apartment dwellers are expected to pay higher rents this fall, after the Rent Guidelines Board approved at a Tuesday vote in Cooper Union a preliminary hike range.

The proposed rent hikes are 1.75 to 4 percent for one-year leases and between 3.5 to 6.75 percent for two-year leases. Any new increases will affect leases signed or renewed starting October 1.

Board members claimed they tried to strike a middle ground on increases for rent stabilized apartments.

Tenants rights groups and Occupy Wall Street demonstrators rallied outside Cooper Union, saying they represented what they call the “rights of the 99 percent.”

They say the board, which has members allied with landlords, tenants, and the public, is just a rubber stamp for Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s policies.

However, advocates for property owners said the board did not take into account rising property taxes, water and sewer rates and the increasing price of oil.

Three more public hearing will be held before the board’s final vote on June 21.

Last year, the board hiked rents 3.75 percent on one-year leases and 7.25 percent on two-year leases.

Source: NY1



RGB Approves Low Increase in Rents

NY Times

Board Is Met With Jeers as It Recommends an Increase in Rents


May 1, 2012

A panel voted on Tuesday to recommend raising rents on rent-stabilized apartments in New York City by amounts comparable to those approved last year.

By a vote of 5 to 4 at Cooper Union’s Great Hall, the Rent Guidelines Board approved increases of 1.75 percent to 4 percent on one-year leases, and 3.5 percent to 6.75 percent increases on two-year leases.

The actual increases will be narrowed to a single percentage when the board votes again on June 21, after hearings on June 13 and 18, at which members of the public can testify.

Last year, the nine-member board, which is appointed by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, approved increases of up to 3.75 percent on one-year leases and 7.25 percent on two-year leases. About one million apartments in the city are rent stabilized.

As in the past, protesters jeered from their seats during the vote, under the watchful eyes of police officers, who set up metal detectors at the front doors.

The meeting coincided with May Day protests by the Occupy Wall Street movement. Helicopters buzzed, nearby streets were closed, and a band with a tuba and drum played outside.

Some protesters at the board meeting carried a banner reading, “Tenants are the 99 percent,” while others shouted, “Greed” and “Shame on Bloomberg” while the board members spoke.

But the protesters’ ranks were thinner this year because of an Occupy march scheduled for around the same time on Broadway, said Larry Wood, a housing advocate.

Still, he promised, they would turn out in droves in June. “There will be a lot more theater for the next vote,” Mr. Wood said.

Lowest Increases in a Decade

NY Post

‘Low’ rent hikes on horizon

By DAVID SEIFMAN City Hall Bureau Chief

Posted: May 2, 2012

The Rent Guidelines Board set the stage last night for the lowest increases in a decade.

In a swift, 34-minute meeting, the board voted 5-4 to approve preliminary rent hikes of 1.75 to 4 percent for new one-year leases and 3.5 to 6.75 percent for two-year renewals.

The range of increases was about 50 percent below last year’s and signaled that tenants in more than a million rent-stabilized apartments could be on the verge of the lowest increases since 2002, when rents went up by 2 and 4 percent.

Renters who had the misfortune of signing new leases last year were hit with 3.75 and 7.25 percent hikes.
Keeping with the theme of the day, about 200 tenants gathered outside Cooper Union to “occupy” the RGB and protest what they described as a sham vote in the historic building’s basement auditorium.
With the demonstrators otherwise occupied, the board rushed through its agenda without any pretense of a genuine discussion.



Continue reading

Owners Prepare for Occupied RGB Vote logo

Rent Stabilized Tenants Prepare to Protest Hike Vote Tuesday 

Tenant advocates waved homemade signs at the Rent Guidelines Board's public session Monday at the Cooper Union. (DNAinfo/Patrick Hedlund)  Read more:

Tenant advocates waved homemade signs at the Rent Guidelines Board's public session Monday at the Cooper Union. (DNAinfo/Patrick Hedlund)

By Jill Colvin, DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

NEW YORK — It’s time to brace for a rent hike.

The city’s Rent Guidelines Board, which sets rates for the city’s one million rent-stabilized apartments, is set to cast its preliminary vote on increases Tuesday night.

The typically raucous hearings pit tenant groups against landlords as the board decides how much rents can legally climb in the coming year, based on owners’ rising costs and other factors.

This year’s meetings are likely to be particularly rowdy with a large showing by Occupy Wall Street protesters, who are planning to “Occupy the RGB” as part of Tuesday’s May Day demonstrations.

No rent-hike numbers have been formally proposed, but a report released by the board last month floated several possibilities ranging from 1.5 percent to 3.75 percent for one-year leases, and 2 percent to 6 percent for two year leases.

The rent board’s executive director, Andrew McLaughlin, stressed that it’s up to members to decide on final numbers and that numerous factors are taken into consideration, including tenants’ ability to pay.

Continue reading

Rent Guidelines Board Holds Preliminary Vote Tonight

NY1 News LogoRGB Prelim Vote Tonight

Tenants and building owners will once again be squabbling over annual rent hikes for the city’s rent-regulated apartments as the Rent Guidelines Board holds a preliminary vote this evening at Cooper Union.

Last year, the board hiked rents 3.75 percent on one-year leases and 7.25 percent on two-year leases.

Tonight’s meeting is open to the public, but officials say any noisemakers that can be used to disrupt the proceedings are prohibited.

Tenants rights groups and Occupy Wall Street demonstrators plan to hold a protest outside the meeting.

The board’s final vote is on June 21.

Any new increases will affect leases signed or renewed starting October 1.


Source: NY1 News