Tenant activism over the last year has accomplished at least one thing: It’s made the Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) pay lip service to the problems caused by the city’s skyrocketing rents. Even landlord representative Steven Schleider said the city needed to replace rent-stabilized units lost to deregulation.
The board then voted to increase the price of affordable housing. By a 6-3 margin, it approved increases of 2.75 percent for a one-year lease renewal and 5.5 percent for two-year leases.
RGB tenant representative Adriene Holder said she was “very disappointed” by the results. As the RGB traditionally sets smaller increases in election years, she added, “I think the next two years are going to be really bad for tenants.”
The board rejected a rent freeze on apartments by 6-3. Martin Zelnik, the only one of the five public members to vote for the freeze, said that while the RGB considers the effects of rising fuel costs on landlords’ incomes, it does not take into account the effects of rising rents, subway fares and college tuition on tenants’ quality of life.