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Rent Guidelines Board Lives Up to ‘Rent Increase Board’ Reputation

And more news for your Wednesday.

(Hell Gate)

We're in the midst of a historic housing affordability crisis, one that is pushing out working-class and middle-class families from New York City. But on Tuesday night, the mayoral-appointed Rent Guidelines Board decided that despite approving rent increases on millions of rent-stabilized tenants for two years in a row, and despite the fact that the RGB's own analysis this year found that the finances of most rent-stabilized buildings have improved, renters in stabilized housing—whose median incomes are below the city average and who are disproportionately rent-burdened—should pay even more in rent. 

In a preliminary 5-2 vote, the RGB approved a range of increases, which would kick in for leases signed after October 1: between 2 and 4.5 percent for one-year leases and between 4 and 6.5 percent for two-year leases. 

It was a typically raucous evening, according to news reports. Hundreds of tenants packed the meeting, held at Laguardia Community College, regularly chanting over RGB chair Nester Davidson. The two tenant reps on the board, Genesis Aquino and Adán Soltren, went so far as to leave the stage and refuse to cast a vote. "If you ask me if the voices of the New York City tenants matter in this process, I would say no. The process is a sham," Aquino said

"The only vote we'll be making tonight is one of no confidence in this mayor and in this board," Soltren said. He added, "I've been at this for three years now, and each year the board has made the decision to further hurt tenants by raising rents significantly. You wonder why some people call it the 'Rent Increase Board.'" 

It's certainly been the "Rent Increase Board" under Mayor Eric Adams, in stark contrast to his predecessor, Bill de Blasio, whose appointees to the RGB approved rent freezes during the COVID-19 pandemic and minimal rent increases in other years. 

But even Adams seemed a little taken aback by what his appointees did on Tuesday night. "Our team is taking a close look at the preliminary ranges voted on by the Rent Guidelines Board this evening," the mayor said in a statement. "And while the Board has the challenging task of striking a balance between protecting tenants from infeasible rent increases and ensuring property owners can maintain their buildings as costs continue to rise, I must be clear that a 6.5 percent increase goes far beyond what is reasonable to ask tenants to take on at this time."

The final vote, which is sure to be as contentious as usual, will be on June 17. 

And some links that will not raise your rent:

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