The price of a month’s rent is set to increase for tenants of rent-stabilised apartments in New York City, effective from October this year. This change will mean increases of up to 1.5% for 1 year leases and 2.5% for 2 year leases. The decision was made after a 5-4 vote by the Rent Guidelines Board during a publicly held meeting at Cooper Union’s Great Hall.
The decision comes after pressure from landlords who claim that costs for operating their properties, including real estate taxes, have increased astronomically, while rentals have remained relatively stable. One group was seeking a 4.5% increase for 1-year leases and a 7.25% increase for 2-year leases.
On the other hand, tenants have been calling for freezes on rental increases, claiming landlords have been compensated more than enough and that almost a third of rent-stabilised tenants pay more than half of their income on rent. One member of the Rent Guidelines Board claimed the data supported the notion that landlords could have continued to profit even if rents were frozen. Indeed, if this was successful, it would have been the third such freeze in 4 years, with freezes for 1 year leases agreed to two years in a row in 2015 and 2016.
In 2017 there were almost a million rent-stabilised apartments in New York City, which represents almost half of the total rental inventory. The rent stabilisation programme of New York State is the longest running in the United States, having begun in 1943.
Every year the vote around rental increases for rent-stabilised apartments becomes an important issue, likely because it will affect almost half of all tenants in the city. The mayor appoints the members of the Rent Guidelines Board, and it is seen as a possible way of influencing rental prices in the city.