SoHo Building NYC

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For the second year in a row, the New York City Rent Guidelines Board voted on Monday night to freeze rents for one-year leases. The board also voted in favor of a two percent increase on two-year leases. The RGB, established in 1969, sets rents for the nearly one million rent stabilized apartments throughout the city.

In typical NYC fashion, the vote was met with both praise and criticism from pols, landlords and tenants alike.

Mayor Bill de Blasio lauded the vote, saying it was reflective of what is happening in the city’s neighborhoods. The nine person board voted 7-0 in favor, with two abstentions coming from landlord representatives. The RGB’s current board members were all appointed by de Blasio.

Landlords criticized the vote citing misleading research data, conceding that while fuel costs have decreased taxes, labor costs and insurance have all greatly increased. This on top of the regular high maintenance costs that are generally seen in older buildings.

Some tenants were not in favor of the vote either. Despite the freeze for one-year leases, many felt the two percent increase was still “too much” and sought nothing less than a rent rollback. According to the NY Times, most tenants in stabilized apartments paid more than one-third of their income on housing, making their homes unaffordable even by federal affordable-housing standards.

This year’s vote continued the trend under de Blasio to keep rent increases minimal. Last year’s freeze was the first in the RGB’s 47-year history. Previous increases ranged from two to four percent for one-year leases, and as high as eight percent for two-year leases.

While the outcome of the vote may not please everyone, only time will tell what impact it will have for both tenants and landlords.

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