Affordable housing can be nearly impossible to find in New York today — unless you are lucky enough to reside in one of the city’s 1-million-plus rent-stabilized apartments.
But even that refuge is being chipped away at.
Last night the Rent Guidelines Board voted to increase the amount landlords can hike rents for those apartments to 3.75 percent for one-year leases and 7.25 percent for two-year leases.
The vote came amidst a hail of abuse and protest from tenants-rights advocates, who packed the Cooper Union meeting hall to protest the increases and condemn a process they say is stacked in favor of landlords.
The board is composed of nine members — two representing tenants’ interests, two representing landlords, and five supposedly neutral “public members.”
All nine members are appointed by the mayor without any outside review, however, and tenants’ advocates say that under Mike Bloomberg the board has shifted firmly away from tenant protection.
“This happens every year,” said Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, who sits on the Assembly’s Housing Committee and joined the protesters last night. “What usually happens is the tenants get screwed. But until we have a mayor who’s more sympathetic to tenants, there isn’t much we can do.”
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the board’s decisions last night.