NYC rent board approves steepest hikes since Bloomberg era

Roughly 2.4 million New York City tenants will face the biggest rent hikes they’ve seen in nearly a decade after the Rent Guidelines Board approved the increases in a split vote Tuesday night.

The panel of nine mayoral appointees – which determines rent adjustments for approximately one million rent-stabilized apartments – voted 5 to 4 to increase rents by 3.25% for one-year leases, and 5% for two-year leases. The rates fell within the middle of ranges approved by the board last month – between 2% and 4% for one-year leases; and between 4% and 6% for two-year leases – and represent the biggest jump in stabilized rents since Mike Bloomberg was mayor.

Tenant groups and advocates called for rent freezes or even rollbacks at a series of public hearings and rallies leading up to Tuesday’s vote, pointing to the rising cost of living in New York City, and already subpar building conditions.

But landlords have pushed for even steeper increases, arguing that building maintenance and insurance costs have surged. And after eight years of small or no increases under former Mayor Bill de Blasio, owners say they can no longer afford to keep their buildings in good repair.

Under de Blasio, the board kept rent increases at historic lows, never surpassing 1.5% for one-year leases and 2.75% for two-year leases in a given year. During the first year of the pandemic, the board kept rents flat. Tuesday’s vote was the first under Mayor Eric Adams’ administration, and set the tone for a more landlord-friendly era.

Adams, a landlord himself, campaigned on a more business-friendly mayoralty than his predecessor. Within minutes of the vote concluding, he issued a statement.

“The determination made by the Rent Guidelines Board today will unfortunately be a burden to tenants at this difficult time – and that is disappointing,” the mayor said. “At the same time, small landlords are at risk of bankruptcy because of years of no increases at all, putting building owners of modest means at risk while threatening the quality of life for tenants who deserve to live in well-maintained, modern buildings. ”

The increases on rent-stabilized tenants come amid a surge in market-rate rents. The city’s median rent on unregulated apartments is up 28 percent in the last year, to $ 3,200, according to StreetEasy. The “good cause” eviction bill – which would have given market rate tenants similar rights to rent-stabilized ones, and protected against the kind of steep increases currently affecting many tenants – failed to pass through the state Legislature this year.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

Gwynne Hogan contributed reporting.

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