Rent freeze opponent skips town

"This moment is a nightmare," Flax said before casting decisive vote

New York /
Jun.June 25, 2014 11:25 AM

The Rent Guidelines Board member responsible for killing a possible rent freeze for tenants in rent-stabilized units fled New York just hours after the deciding vote was cast.

Steven Flax, one of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s six appointees to the nine-member board, drew fire from rent hike opponents after breaking camp with the mayor’s other appointees, who wanted to freeze rents in 2014. Instead, Flax backed a plan to hike rates 1 percent on one-year leases and 2.75 percent on two-year leases. The measure passed by a vote of 5-4, infuriating renters who lobbied for a full rent freeze. Landlords were likewise dissatisfied: the Rent Stabilization Association had called for hikes of 6 percent on one-year leases and 9.5 percent for two-years.

Before casting the decisive vote, Flax said: “This moment is a nightmare.” 

The board’s decision sparked an outcry from a group of irate tenants who gathered at Cooper Union for the vote. The crowd reportedly chanted, “Steve is dead.”

Less than 24 hours after the vote was cast, Flax, who is a banker, boarded a plane, The New York Daily News reported. His wife told the paper that he was too upset to explain his actions.

“He isn’t ready,” she told the Daily News. “It was hard for him.”

De Blasio said he disagreed with Flax’s vote, but was not surprised. “We knew it would be a close vote either way you slice it,” the mayor said. “But I was trying to make very clear what I thought was the right way to go.” [NYDN]Sasha von Oldershausen


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Blackstone CEO Steven Schwartzman and Stuyvesant Town (Credit: Getty Images)
After authorities vowed review of Stuy Town deal, Blackstone changes course on vacancies
After authorities vowed review of Stuy Town deal, Blackstone changes course on vacancies
Tete-à-tete with TRD: How landlords are dealing with New York’s new rent laws
Tete-à-tete with TRD: How landlords are dealing with New York’s new rent laws
Tete-à-tete with TRD: How landlords are dealing with New York’s new rent laws
Real Capital Analytics data showed that New York’s multifamily market had a very slow July. (Credit: iStock)
New NYC rent law “beginning to shut down investment”
New NYC rent law “beginning to shut down investment”
John Catsimatidis and 670 Pacific Street (Getty, StreetEasy)
Catsimatidis notches win for landlords in 421a suit; tenants vow to appeal
Catsimatidis notches win for landlords in 421a suit; tenants vow to appeal
Lexington Hotel at 511 Lexington Avenue (Google Maps)
NYC hotels getting busier, but still struggling
NYC hotels getting busier, but still struggling
NYC Economic Development Corp. president Rachel Loeb and Yankees president Randy Levine (Getty, EDC, Google Maps)
Foul ball: Yankees, city point fingers as Bronx soccer stadium gets sidelined
Foul ball: Yankees, city point fingers as Bronx soccer stadium gets sidelined
Mayor Bill de Blasio and HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll (Getty, iStock)
Recovery budget throws homeowners a bone, skimps on tenant legal services
Recovery budget throws homeowners a bone, skimps on tenant legal services
Gary Barnett has another problem at UES site: a stabilized tenant
Gary Barnett has another problem at UES site: a stabilized tenant
Gary Barnett has another problem at UES site: a stabilized tenant
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...