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Annual push and pull re stabilized rent increases begins

Let the games begin.

Actually, that depiction is inapt concerning New York City's annual determination of where the sliding scale should be concerning rent increases -- if any -- on rent-stabilized apartment dwellings across the metro area. The just-underway process involving number crunching and heavy lobbying will ultimately yield an early summer decision by the Rent Guidelines Board on rent increases for 2019. Legions of tenants view the annual rehash on rents as deadly serious business.

As well they should. The effect of a rent increase can spawn materially adverse results for a financially strapped renter. And a spike in monthly payments can collectively effect the entire city in a major way, given that the estimated one million or so rent-stabilized units in NYC comprise about 44% of available rental stock in the city.

The board approved last year a 1.25% raise for 2018 on one-year leases, coupled with s 2% allowable cap on two-year leases.

Things are more uncertain this year, especially with no clear indication from Mayor Bill de Blasio on what his personal take is. The mayor was essentially noncommittal last year, although he endorsed rent freezes in years leading up to 2017. A spokesperson says that it is too early right now for the mayor to assert himself into what has been described as "the annual jockeying between tenant and landlord groups."

One piece of information arguably does seem fundamentally relevant to negotiations going forward, namely this: Although landlords' operating costs reportedly rose by about 2.4% last year, their post-expense incomes spiked by approximately 4.4%. That would seem to undercut arguments that building owners are suffering and must be compensated by sizable rental upticks.

The board is slated to take a final vote on the matter near the end of June.