Same As It Ever Was: Rents Going Up Again, But At Least Less Than Before

rent1 Same As It Ever Was: Rents Going Up Again, But At Least Less Than Before

High and getting higher (sassenfrazz, flickr)

Do you think the rent is too damn high? Too bad, because it’s about to get higher.

On Thursday night, the Rent Guidelines Board, those hated real estate price setters, approved a rent increases of 2 percent for one-year leases on rent-stabilized apartments and 4 percent for two-year leases, according to the New York Daily News.

Sure, it’s better than last year’s increase, which the board set at 3.75 percent for a one-year lease and 7.25 percent for two-year leases, but it is, as always, an increase, something that not that many people get from their jobs on a yearly basis.

Once again, the decision to raise rents by a modest amount, in what appears to be a misguided attempt to placate both tenants and landlords, has left everyone angry.

The number falls so faithfully within a certain range that it’s unclear why there’s a Rent Guidelines Board at all. Certainly an algorithm could accomplish the same thing? And if the board was not persuaded to freeze rents now, when city rents are the highest they’ve ever been, it seems unlikely that the board will be persuaded by personal testimony in the future.

The vote was, as usual, accompanied by angry tenants with zero percent signs.

“They’re gouging us every year,” Maxine Zeifman, 84, told the Daily News, adding that the rent on her upper East Side apartment has almost quadrupled in the last four decades. “They don’t need an increase.”

Of course, this increase applies only to the city’s one million rent-stabilized apartments. If you number among the 53 percent who live in market rate apartments, the increase you see will probably be much much higher.

kvelsey@observer.com