Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is up for re-election this year, bragged about a rent freeze put in place by the Rent Guideline Board — a board that he’s insisted is independent.
The mayor took credit for the two rent freezes set by the board in 2015 and 2016 during a conference call with senior citizens, Politico reported.
“That’s never been done in history before,” he said. “That happened under this administration because I instructed the Rent Guidelines Board — I name the members — and I instructed them to not follow the biases of the past, but be respectful of the needs of tenants and not just the needs of landlords, and look at all the facts. I’m very proud that the board made that decision.”
The Rent Stabilization Association pounced on the comments, saying that they showed that the mayor, in fact, interferes with the board.
“The mayor has just revealed that he pulls the strings of what is supposed to be an independent board,” Joe Strasburg, president of the landlord’s group, told Politico. “It begs the question, why have a board at all?”
Meanwhile, the mayor has previously rejected the group’s claims that he controls the board.
The association is suing the Rent Guidelines Board over the freezes, claiming that the group improperly considered “tenant affordability” in its decision to freeze rents two years in a row. A decision in the case is expected March 28. [Politico] — Kathryn Brenzel