Affordable Housing

Rent hikes approved for the city's two million rent-stabilized tenants

The rent hikes are the same as last year and follow the biggest rent reforms in a generation.

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The panel that sets rent adjustments for the city's two million rent-stabilized tenants has voted to increase rents by 1.5 percent for a one-year lease and a 2.5 percent increase for a two-year lease. The Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) decided to freeze hikes for hotel and SRO lodging but increases of up to 39 percent were approved for deregulated units. 

Members had recommended increases ranging up to 3.75 percent on two-year leases at their preliminary vote last month. The rent hikes are very similar to last year's rises and follow on the heels of the biggest rent reforms in a generation aimed at preserving the city's affordable rental inventory. 

Landlords are fuming about those reforms, claiming that ending vacancy deregulation, doing away with the stabilized thresholds, and limiting reimbursements for building and apartment improvements leaves them shrinking margins and no incentives to keep their rental buildings in good shape. They wanted to see much higher rent increases to offset their costs. 

Adriene Holder with the Legal Aid Society in NYC sees the increases as the board heeding to "the fear-mongering of landlords" and says it's disappointing. 

“It is the most vulnerable, low-income families that are already struggling to get by in one of the most expensive cities in the world who will bear the brunt of this rent increase. Their right to remain in their communities and keep a roof over their families should have been prioritized," she says.

The increases will be in effect for rent-stabilized tenants who renew leases after October 1st, 2019. 

Sam Himmelstein, a partner with the law firm Himmelstein, Mcconnell, Gribben, Donoghue & Joseph (and a Brick Underground sponsor) says, "All things considered these were fairly modest increases, particularly if you look at the increases from the pre-de Blasio days." 

In the 1980's the board allowed rent increases of up to 15 percent for some two-year leases. During Bloomberg's tenure as mayor, yearly rent increases for one-year leases were between 2 and 4 percent.