Bill de Blasio gears up to appoint Rent Guidelines Board

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

New York /
Mar.March 10, 2014 03:55 PM

The 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


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