The Real Deal New York

City considering another rent freeze

This would be the second time in the city's history

May 04, 2016 08:41AM

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Tenants at a meeting in 2015 ahead of the Rent Guidelines Board’s vote to freeze rents for stabilized apartments.

After last year’s historic rent freeze, another may be on its way.

The city’s Rent Guidelines Board voted 5-4 on Tuesday night to consider freezing rents for more than 1 million rent-stabilized tenants. In addition to a freeze, the board will weigh a few other options, including a 2 percent cap on increases for one-year lease renewals, and a .5 to 3.5 percent increase for two-year leases. The freeze would go into effect Oct. 1.

For some tenants at the meeting, the proposed freeze didn’t go far enough. Hundreds of tenants called for a 4 percent rent rollback, while landlord members of the board supported a 4 percent increase.

The board is slated to vote on the possible rent changes June 27, the Wall Street Journal reported.

In April, the board published a study that claimed landlords’ cost to operate rentals actually fell over a 12-month period, due largely to a mild winter and low fuel costs. It’s the first time that’s happened since 1969, the board said.

Forest City Ratner’s Scott Walsh, representing building owners, criticized the study and said costs were actually up about 3.5 percent.

In June 2015, the board voted for the first time ever to freeze rents for stabilized apartments. The decision was touted by Mayor Bill de Blasio, but landlords argued it would hurt their bottomline.

Following the rent freeze, some investors shied away from stabilized properties. But not Stonehenge Partners CEO Ofer Yardeni — he’s apparently all about rent regulation[WSJ] — Kathryn Brenzel

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