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Stabilized Rents May Increase Up to 6% - Newsday

Posted by Mark Smith on May 09, 2000 at 10:23:34:

From Newsday, Tuesday, May 9th, 2000:

Stabilized Rents May Increase Up to 6%

By Robert Polner

Tenants in the city's 1 million rent-stabilized apartments would face rent hikes of 4 percent for one-year leases and 6 percent for two-year leases under a preliminary measure approved 6-3 yesterday by the Rent Guidelines Board.

A final vote on the tentative measure, which in past years has set the pace for the approved increases, is scheduled for June 22.

The six people in favor included two tenant representatives on the board, who said they couldn't get a better deal for the apartment-dwellers.

The three against included two landlord representatives, signaling in part the property owners' insistence that they were entitled to a bigger increase.

Sixty percent of the leases will be up for renewal this year.

"It was clear that this was the lowest it was going to go," said Michael McKee, associate director of the New York State Tenants and Neighbors Coalition, who looked on.

But when the tenant representatives voted in favor, they faced shouts of "Shame on you" from those in a group of about 75 tenants who attended the meeting in lower Manhattan.

The board recently issued a report noting that fuel costs had risen 50 percent over the past year, justifying possible increases of 8 1/2 percent and 12 percent for one- and two-year leases, respectively.

But Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who appoints the board members, said after the report was issued last month that such increases "sound very, very high." There was speculation about their possible impact on his U.S. Senate race.

One property owner on the board, Vincent Castellano, argued during yesterday's board meeting that increases lower than initially suggested would penalize landlords in the outer boroughs because those rentals generally produce lower profit margins.

Higher real-estate taxes were another factor pushing up operating costs, landlords said.

Jeff Coleman, a tenant representative, countered

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