Rent Guidelines Board passes rent freeze on one-year leases

The vote is a first in the board's 46 years

From left: Rachel Godsil and Joseph Strasburg
From left: Rachel Godsil and Joseph Strasburg

The Rent Guidelines Board voted Monday night to freeze the rents on one-year leases of the city’s roughly 1 million stabilized apartments, for the first time ever.

The board voted 7-2 to freeze the rents for the first time during its 46-year existence, the New York Times reported. The board also voted on a 2 percent increase on two-year leases, which is also a record low.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who hadn’t actively called for a rent freeze, supported the board’s vote. “We know tenants have been forced to make painful choices that pitted ever-rising rent against necessities like groceries, child care and medical bills,” he told the newspaper. “Today’s decision means relief.”

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Scott Walsh and Sara Williams Willard — the landlord representatives on the Rent Guidelines Board — cast the dissenting votes, the newspaper reported.

While tenant advocates reportedly erupted in cheers and chanting following the vote at the Great Hall at Cooper Union in Manhattan, landlords were less pleased.

“A rent freeze on the surface may sound pro-tenant,” said Joseph Strasburg, president of the Rent Stabilization Association, which represents roughly 25,000 landlords, “but the reality is landlords will now have to forgo repairing, maintaining and preserving their apartments, which will trigger the deterioration of quality, affordable housing de Blasio pretends to care about. [NYT] — Claire Moses