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Morning Spew

Landlords Demand Silence While the Rent Is Increased

And some decidedly noisier links for your Wednesday.

8:59 AM EDT on June 14, 2023

City Council members Chi Osse, Alexa Aviles, Sandy Nurse, Shahana Hanif, and Tiffany Caban and tenant organizers disrupt the Rent Guidelines Board 2023 preliminary vote.

City Council members Chi Osse, Alexa Aviles, Sandy Nurse, Shahana Hanif, and Tiffany Caban and tenant organizers disrupt the Rent Guidelines Board 2023 preliminary vote in May (Hell Gate)

On Tuesday, the Rent Guidelines Board announced that it had moved its final meeting, where members will vote on how much to increase the rent on the city's one million rent-stabilized apartments, from Cooper Union's Great Hall to Hunter College. That announcement also included a new prohibition against noisemakers for the June 21 gathering: "In order to ensure that the members of the Rent Guidelines Board are able to deliberate, and that members of the Board are able to participate meaningfully in the public meeting, items that are reasonably likely to disrupt the proceedings, such as noisemakers and drums, are prohibited and may not be brought into the meeting venue."

The RGB's move is an attempt to prevent protests like this, which occurred at last month's preliminary hearing, from happening: 

Why is the RGB trying to crack down on the only thing that makes these hearings bearable and worthwhile? We asked the board, but they didn't respond. But we can make a good guess: Landlords, typically insulated from the complaints of their tenants, really hate the fact that a few times a year, they actually have to hear how pissed off their renters are. 

On Monday, the Real Deal reported that landlord groups were very upset that tenants and a few City Councilmembers staged that noisy protest at last month's preliminary hearing. Ann Korchak, the president of the landlord group Small Property Owners of New York, told the outlet that tenants were "intimidating." "I was verbally attacked after the Bronx meeting last year," Korchak said. "I've been screamed at, there's been cowbells and whistles while I'm trying to say my piece," Korchak said. (Cowbells! The horror!)

Landlords just want to be heard, the Rent Stabilization Association's Michael Tobman explained. (Landlords, they're just like us!) "All voices must be heard in this process—especially the voices of small building owners," Tobman told the Real Deal. 

Nevermind that landlords generally always get what they want—a rent increase. And this year will likely prove to be no different. The board has already decided to approve increases in the range of two percent to five percent for one-year rent-stabilized leases, and four percent to seven percent on two-year leases. 

And now for some noisy links:

  • Okay, Jan. 
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