Rent Guidelines Board Chairman Jonathan Kimmel (credit: DNAinfo)
The Rent Guidelines Board voted last night on the lowest rent increases for the city’s 1 million-plus stabilized rent units since 2002, the New York Daily News reported, and no one’s happy. Landlords claimed the increase, totaling 2 percent for one-year leases and 4 percent for two-year leases, wouldn’t cover rising costs and property taxes. But tenants advocates argued that any increase was unaffordable considering the current economic climate.
Landlord representatives wanted 5 percent and 9 percent increases as property taxes rose 7.5 percent in the last year. Joe Strasburg, president of the landlord’s Rent Stabilization Association group, said the inadequate increases would hurt small property owners, in particular, as many of those buildings are exclusively rented to stabilized renters that already pay well below market rate.
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The State Assembly passed a bill on Monday that would strengthen rent regulation, while setting up a possible showdown with the Senate and the real estate industry.
State laws that limit the rent that landlords can charge on more than one million apartments in New York City and the suburbs are set to expire on June 15. Democratic legislators from the city and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo had sought to extend and expand the laws during budget negotiations last month, until the Senate Republican leader, Dean G. Skelos, rejected the idea, threatening to delay the budget.
The bill in the Democratic-controlled Assembly would extend rent regulations until 2016. It would do away with vacancy decontrol, which lets landlords deregulate apartments when they become vacant and their rent exceeds $2,000. It would alter luxury decontrol, which lets owners deregulate apartments when the tenants’ income exceeds $175,000 and the rent is at least $2,000. Those limits would rise to $300,000 and $3,000. The bill would also limit rent increases for new tenants to 10 percent, down from 20 percent.
“Every year more than 10,000 rent-regulated apartments are lost because of loopholes in the rent laws,” the Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, said in a statement.
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