The Real Deal New York

Bill de Blasio gears up to appoint Rent Guidelines Board

Mayoral panel could introduce first rent freeze in city's history

March 10, 2014 03:55PM

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imagesThe mayoral panel that controls price increases for rent-stabilized units in New York City kicks off a debate on rent changes this month, including the possible introduction of a rent freeze that would be the first in New York City’s history if approved.

The nine members of the Rent Guidelines Board are scheduled to begin discussing the city’s annual rent hike at the end of March. Mayor Bill de Blasio, who promised on the campaign trail to pursue a rent freeze, is responsible for appointing members to the panel — five of which he can pick before the vote on rent rates occurs, likely in June.

“This is a real possibility, and Mayor de Blasio is the one to make it happen,” Jaron Benjamin, executive director of the Metropolitan Council on Housing, told the New York Times. “He understands that there are so many stabilized tenants that would be past the breaking point if there’s another increase.”

Last year the board allowed increases of up to 4 percent for one-year lease renewals and up to 7.75 percent for two-year lease – the largest hike since 2008. Landlords told the Times that the hike didn’t meet their needs in some buildings where tenants pay very low rents, and that they are hoping new appointees won’t favor a “zero-rent guideline.” [NYT] – Angela Hunt

  • Sh!t My Tenants Say

    Sure, lets talk about an unrealistic rent freeze, rather than key issues like: 2nd homeOWNERS, succession rights, 1/10th fraction rents, or the fact that $2500 is the threshold for ALL SIZE apartments in ALL boroughs.

  • noclist

    Lucky if we don’t see a rent freeze for the next 4 years with the pro-tenant people likely to be appointed to the RGB.

  • HughGass

    ““He understands that there are so many stabilized tenants that would be past the breaking point if there’s another increase.”
    So, maybe if they can afford $2,500/month in rent the don’t need a rent stabilized apartment. That’s about $80k/year income.

    • baffled

      but what is his data that he can offer to back up his claim that they are eating cat food?

      Where is this coming from? Is it because some of his voter base are having their rents paid for by the government and the government doesn’t want to cut bigger checks?

      I don’t know where his claims are coming from and I would appreciate some proof because I chose my market rent tenants NOT because they could pay the most rent but because they could stay longer in the building and now he is basically forcing us to always take the deepest pockets.

      Where is this going?

    • everyone knows the truth

      but the breaking point of the property owners would be welcome because it would push the properties either into the open market where the new owner definitely will not be interested in nursing along these nonprimary residents or better yet, get turned over to a tenant advocacy group that can’t run the buildings affordably without a government handout.

      Rent regulated apartments do not cover their own costs.

  • Izzy

    All the progress that was made through out the Guiliani and Bloomberg years are going to pot with De Blasio. He is ruining the city.

  • Opening Panderer’s Box

    A rent freeze would be completely dishonest and shameless if enacted. it would have nothing to do with fairness and justice and everything to do with pandering and being able to offer a soundbite that the city is on the side of the tenants of the city. How would halting a percentage increase that is always less than the documented operating expense increase supposed to help tenants or affordable housing in the city? It will benefit the rent stabilized tenants in the city but that is a personal benefit and it may not even be deserved since rent stabilization is not based on income.

    I think the rent freeze is very likely because it was a campaign promise but I think it will begin a serious sincere opposition to this administration which has already dissembled on real estate taxes claiming that they will not be increased. However, real estate taxes are going up because assessments have gone up but the rate is already incredibly high so not raising it doesn’t make for a more equitable charging of property owners in New York.

  • Real NYer

    Freeze em!

    • nobody pay for anything

      The Landlords will trade their rent stabilized apartment rent freezes for a total freeze on the property tax assessments and the heating and hot water bill increases.

      FREEZE everything.

      A free for all for everybody. The Mayor will win the Powerball and appropriately donate the winnings to the city and cover all the rents for the rent stabilized tenants who in the world of NYC Housing are the One Percenters. They’re the Silver Spoons of New York.

  • NYCHA can’t even survive

    All our operating expenses go up because of the property tax assessments and the polar vortex affecting the heating bills and repairs and we can’t raise rents because without any proof submitted by tenants, they can’t AFFORD a rent hike -not even the minimal ones stipulated by the Rent Guidelines Board.

    Is the city absolutely certain that every rent stabilized tenant is too poor to afford a typically low rent hike? What is the research justifying the city’s decision?

  • Deliver Us From Evil

    You know, he could shut up the tenants if he merely has the RGB board look at the tax returns of everyone who is a rent stabilized tenant including their property ownership (that’s what a social security number is for after all) and if they have income property or a “second home” in Queens, then he can just use that as his kevlar to allow hikes for those apartments only and leave the ones who don’t report enough income (cash is king) to have an affordable hike.

    If he just freezes the rent, he is going to be in crazy trouble. It’s going to set off so many mild mannered people who will feel attacked and will find this administration to be unacceptable and untrustworthy.

    It’s going to gift the Republicans because instead of having a mayor who looks smart enough to be the next La Guardia, we are going to have a mayor whose name will be synonymous with a cautionary tale of what happens if you let the bleeding hearts run the city.

    This is going to suck.

  • JoeyWall

    Join market-rate tenants discussing common sense housing policy and zoning reform: facebook.com/nycrenters

  • kevlar or the floodgates

    Something about this mayor tells me that he is a REAL Mayor for the City of New York. I hated every time some bicyclist got kiled by a cabbie and the cabbie shrugged it off. I think the increase in sick days won’t be used as often as needed because people are afraid they will get fired if they use them but it will help some people and it sets a standard. I think the pre-k extending so that parents can work full time will be a game changer for many working families – those who don’t want handouts will work because of the pre-k program and those who refuse to work will have not have their children as an excuse.

    But for the mayor to survive a rent freeze, he needs to design it in a way to get rid of his enemies who are (1) the people who get up on soapboxes and cry poor tenant, affordable housing while having their hands open for a handout from the city instead of trying to think up ways for the city to make money and (2) the people – the actual human beings – who are going to be undeservedly hurt by the rent freeze and in order to remove both of these groups, he has to justify the rent freeze for SOME of the rent stabilized tenants.

    To do that, allow the tenants to prove it. We don’t even have their social security numbers and aren’t allowed to do credit checks. Anyone who wants to fight the rent hikes should help this benevolent mayor out and file for reduction or freeze in their particular rent based on their personal income. He cancels out the human beings who are property owners who are beginning to see the mayor as someone who will allow the nominal real estate tax due to go up but claim that there is no increase because the rates are the same while forcing only property owners to carry the burden of more than their own share but also already subsidized tenants.

    He gets kevlar from the property owners, he gets kevlar against anyone who kneejerk protests any rent increase no matter how affordable and he gets kevlar from the press because those editorials are really out for blood and this one will never be forgotten because it is simply unfair. We’re not talking about sending canned corn to a homeless shelter here. Everyone who commutes, everyone who can’t afford to live in the city despite going back more than a hundred years in this city and never been on welfare i.e. The MAJORITY of New York who do not benefit from such a rent freeze will resent it.

    It has nothing to do with being pro-landlord. It just sounds rotten.

    But he can stop everyone from coming out of the woodwork and making him answer for his compassion by asking him for funding if he plays fair but strict. STRICT like Sicilian nun. Kindness for the deserving who can prove it. Nobody can hate him for that.

    He will make everyone shut up and pull their own weight and say thank you if he runs it old school New York.

    I could live without exposes on how people cheat with public assistance. A rent freeze would invite such a reaction and it would divide the city. We are already stressed out with unaffordabilty and most of us aren’t going to be benefitting from affordable housing so reading about a rent freeze will not endear this administration to the working class in New York. It is not the same thing as reading about meat plant workers winning the lottery in Omaha or wherever.

    There is so much stress amongst ordinary working New Yorkers who qualify for the working class label with this administration and they’re not interested in politics or hating the mayor or landlords or anyone else but the way things are reported, it sounds like we are giving out discounts to squeaky wheels and we know that the job makers will punish the city’s economy somehow.

    • base the increases on income

      remember when the city investigated and found that the government employees who were asking for raises were making more than the average fellow New Yorker?

      This IS a good mayor. He needs to change the timbre of this city. No more inappropriate and dishonest whining.

  • stop the kneejerk blame game

    Ask the Central American floor cleaner at the supermarket if he thinks it is fair for some second generation rent stabilized tenant in Manhattan to get to use the pool for free when the other tenants in the building pay for it?

    Not everyone stinks at fair play, not everyone sides with rent stab tenants out of solidarity because property ownership is just so wrong. Just because the press let the advocates speak out without confrontation or contradiction, doesn’t mean the majority of the city isn’t sick of this rhetoric. That’s why the Mayor is being attacked in the press – he’s too new to have actually earned it – the negativity about his public works wishlist is about the accumulated resentment of ordinary nonrich New Yorkers who do not hate the foreigners who pay for the privilege of being here, they don’t mind that they can’t afford to eat in famous restaurants and can’t be bothered to do Restaurant Week, they don’t want anything they don’t deserve but they don’t want to be charged because it is more expedient to let someone have their way than to actually recalibrate society and let everyone know that everyone pulls their own work. That is the difference between Bill Guarniere working menial jobs his entire life with only one leg and members of the 442nd Regiment finding themselves uncommonly promoted after their tour of duty.

    Nobody is entitled to a swimming pool or a private gym. This is not Vichy-controlled Paris or the rest of 1930s Nazi-controlled Europe not letting Jews to walk on sidewalks and sit on park benches and then of course, so much worse so please do not call this RACIST or discriminatory. This is not about forcing citizens out of their equal rights:

    http://www.westsiderag.com/2014/03/10/pressure-rising-on-multiple-unequal-rent-stabilized-buildings

  • a picture is worth a THOUSAND
  • tire of the bs

    If he freezes rents I will donate to campaign funds of republican senate candidates. I’m not a wealthy person but this nonsense has to stop and I’ll put my money where my mouth is. I pay 3x what my neighbor pays and she’s a millionaire. I have $30k of student loans. The system is ridiculous. One per-centers don’t need an f’n rent freeze.

  • Scam Artists

    http://nypost.com/2014/03/11/housing-becoming-more-expensive-for-nyers-comptroller/

    So does this mean that rent regulated tenants should be paying no more than 30% of their income? So can we please get their incomes established? Otherwise, the politicians are just going to blame the landlords for market rate apartments.

    Unfortunately, the state and city can and have done this to landlords for decades. They complain about a situation they created. It’s double dipping and they scapegoat the property owners every time. In order to afford to help out those who qualify for affordable housing, we are all going to be taxed to the point that we qualify for affordable housing ourselves and then where will the city be? Other than creating six figure salaries for all these professional do gooders, everyone else loses.

  • flipoutnyc

    Why don’t the go’vt spares some money to the rent stabilized tenants and help they out with rent so both parties will be happy.

  • FlipoutNYC

    You have to see how these tenants live before determine their incomes. They have many family members live in one small apartment to make sure that one of them will inherit the apartment down the line. The only income that they claim is the one who is on the lease. So they can have money under the mattress and rent out a couch to someone for more money but they wont report it. In the end, landlord will have to pay more water bills and other costs to maintain the building.

  • FlipoutNYC

    Remember Christin Quin used to stick her stinky mouth in every news about the rent control or rent stabilized apartments. I haven’t heard from her lately. what a hypocrite. She just wants to be the mayor for a moment. These politicians always run their mouths like they care but they don’t.

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