Renters Outraged: RGB Votes To Raise Rents Again

rent Renters Outraged: RGB Votes To Raise Rents Again

Almost as good entertainment as the Rent Guidelines Board (_rockinfree, flickr)

Surprise! The rent is going up again next year.

In a move that surprised no one, the Rent Guidelines Board cast a preliminary vote to allow rent increases between 1.75 and 4 percent for one-year leases and 3.5 to 6.75 percent for two-year leases, reports The New York Times.

The ranges will be narrowed to a single percent increase when the board takes its final vote on June 21. Last year the board approved a 3.75 percent increase for a one-year lease and a 7.25 percent increase for a two-year lease.

Of course, these increases apply only to the city’s one million rent-stabilized apartments. If you number among the 53 percent of New Yorkers who live in a market-rate apartment, you’re basically screwed.

But while the Rent Guidelines Board has been approving rent increases of about 3 percent pretty much without fail every year, some people thought things might be different this year. Just last week the board set the benchmark used to determine rent increases—the rise in landlords’ operating costs—at 2.8 percent. It was the lowest number in decades, and it gave the many rent-regulated tenants a warm feeling so rarely associated with New York apartments.

Chalk it up too much hope or not enough, but the crowd did not take the news of the increase well.

“As in the past, protesters jeered from their seats during the vote, under the watchful eyes of police officers, who set up metal detectors at the front doors,” writes The Times.

The crowd was smaller than it normally is, with tenants having to chose between the vote and an Occupy Wall Street march on Broadway scheduled for roughly the same time. Nevertheless, a few Occupy protestors did straggle into Cooper Union’s Great Hall to offer their support, shouting things like “Greed” and “Shame on Bloomberg.”

Still, it’s early in the game, and the board’s final number could certainly come in on the lower end of the range. Also, the “kangaroo court” will hold public hearings on June 13 and 18, for whatever that’s worth.

kvelsey@observer.com