The definitive decision annually reached by the New York City Rent Guidelines Board on rent-stabilized lease increases was announced on June 26.
It hardly went unnoticed.
An amped-up and passionate response to the RGB’s dictate was indeed expected, for numerous reasons. A whopping 44% of the metro’s rental units – that is, nearly one million apartments across the city – are reportedly affected by the board’s yearly decision. And announced increases of any size spell big news for legions of those renters, given that an estimated 30% of them spend at least half of their monthly income on rent.
Tenants were hoping for a result in close accord with other RGB announcements from recent years declaring freezes on one-year leases and relatively small jumps in two-year rental contracts.
What they got were 1.5% and 2.5% spikes, respectively. A New York Times piece discussing the board’s announcement noted that the increases were the largest in several years and “were met by a barrage of loud jeers” from disgruntled renters.
The jacked-up rate “could send people over a financial precipice,” noted one commentator.
Landlord representatives were also unhappy, although one RGB member who supported a freeze contended that property owners would still have profited in the absence of any increase. A board report authored earlier this year noted evidence pointing to rising landlord revenues across the city for 12 years running. That data seemingly undercut in a conclusive way an assertion by the pro-landlord Rent Stabilization Association that raises of 4.5% on one-year leases and 7.5% on two-year terms were needed to ensure landlords’ continued viability.
Last year’s increases were 1.25% and 2%, respectively.