Mayor Bill de Blasio raised rents on properties he owns in Park Slope, while at the same time calling for rent freezes for the city’s roughly 1 million rent-stabilized apartments.
De Blasio and his wife have raised rents in increments of $50 and $75 a year on one unit in a two-family house they own, a City Hall source told Politico. The rent has gone from $2,400 in 2009 to $2,850 last year.
They also charge $4,500 for their primary residence, which they left in 2014 when they moved into Gracie Mansion. Both row houses are worth a combined $3.7 million, according to city assessments.
De Blasio last month was looking to rent a unit in one of the buildings for $1,825 per month.
For the past two years, the city’s Rent Guidelines Board has frozen increases on one-year leases. The City Hall source would not say why the mayor raised rents on his own properties while pushing the board to implement rent freezes.
A City Hall spokesperson several years ago said de Blasio charged his tenants more when he made improvements to the properties, which are not under rent stabilization.
The RGB last week released a report that said landlord costs rose 6.2 percent this year, including fuel, labor, maintenance, insurance costs and property taxes.
Rental income and total income were up by 4.4 percent, while operating costs climbed 1.1 percent and net operating costs increased by 10.8 percent, according to a separate report the board released.
Board member Harvey Epstein, who represents tenants’ interests, said he thinks the numbers will justify another rent freeze when the board votes again in June.
“If you look at owners’ net operating income and overall gross rent roll, owners continue to do well even with the last two years of one-year rent freezes,” he said.
But Jack Freund, executive vice president of the Rent Stabilization Association, said he thinks de Blasio has had too heavy a hand influencing the board to advance his policies.
“We’ve seen politics enter into the Rent Guidelines Board deliberations in an unprecedented manner” since de Blasio took office, he said.
The RSA recently lost a lawsuit challenging last year’s rent freeze. [Politico] – Rich Bockmann