The Real Deal New York

Melissa Mark-Viverito calls for rent freeze … just not at her pad

City Council speaker charges $2K a month for two-bedroom on E. 111th St.

June 23, 2016 11:03AM

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Melissa Mark-Viverito

Do as I say, not as I do? Even while advocating for a rent freeze on rent-stabilized apartments, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito – who is a landlord herself – isn’t promising her tenants she won’t raise their rent.

Mark-Viverito rents out a non-stabilized two-bedroom apartment at her East 111th Street townhouse, charging tenants $2,000 a month for the unit, Politico reported. “For six years, as rents skyrocketed across New York, Melissa did not institute a single rent increase,” her spokesman said. But while she is “proud” to advocate for a rent freeze, the spokesman said Mark-Viverito “has yet to make any determination this year” for her own property.

Last year, the city’s Rent Guidelines Board instituted a rent freeze for the first time in its 46-year history. On Monday, the board is set to vote on whether to allow landlords to raise rents on one- and two-year leases signed by 1 million rent-stabilized tenants.

Mark-Viverito has called for a freeze on one-year leases, and additionally asked the board to cap increases on two-year leases at .5 percent.

The Speaker’s rental unit is a free-market unit, so the board’s decision won’t impact her. And according to New York Habitat, she charges rent below the market rate.

Politico said Mark-Viverito’s 2014 tax return shows she earned $22,200 from the apartment that year, which breaks down to monthly rent of $1,850 per month. That’s slightly less than the current rate of $2,000 per month, a slight “adjustment” after keeping rents the same for six years, her spokesman said. Mark-Viverito led the charge for the City Council to receive a controversial 32 percent salary raise to $148,500. She herself will now make pushed $164,000 annually. [Politic0] – E.B. Solomont

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