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NYC rent increases for stabilized apartments 2021-2022

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NYC rent increases for stabilized apartments 2021-2022

Postby TenantNet » Thu Jun 24, 2021 5:36 am

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/23/nyregion/rent-stabilized-apartments-nyc.html
Modest Rent Increases Approved for 2.3 Million N.Y.C. Tenants

The Rent Guidelines Board voted to allow 1.5 percent increases for the second six months of one-year leases. Tenants had pushed for rent reductions.
By Matthew Haag
June 23, 2021

The powerful board that determines rent for New York City’s 1.2 million rent-stabilized apartments approved a modest increase on rents on Wednesday — a compromise between tenant groups that wanted to freeze rates and landlords who sought sizable increases.

The panel, the Rent Guidelines Board, voted 5 to 4 that on one-year leases, landlords must maintain current rents for the first six months of the lease but may increase it by 1.5 percent for the next six months. On two-year leases, landlords may increase rent up to 2.5 percent. The new rates take effect in October.

“Though the city’s recovery has begun, it is lagging behind the rest of the country,” said Alex Schwartz, a board member. “This proposal is intended to provide additional time for an economic recovery before any rent increase goes into effect.”

But tenant advocates were not happy. “We have had decades of high rent increases that have created an unjust rent system,” said Leah Goodridge, one of the two board members who represent tenants, both of whom voted against the final decision.

The vote followed a seven-year run of largely favorable rulings for tenants, whose rents have been frozen three times during that period while increasing modestly in the other four years.

For decades, the Rent Guidelines Board approved sizable increases almost every year — often from 3 percent on one-year leases to 8 percent on two-year leases — but that came to an end under Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has sought to make housing more affordable and who appointed all nine members of the board.

The next mayor, who will be elected in November, will wield that same power, one of the few ways city government can directly influence housing costs in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

Even before the pandemic, about half of the city’s roughly 5.3 million renters paid more than 30 percent of their income toward rent, which is considered financially burdensome, according to the Furman Center at New York University.

The annual decision by the board, which affects roughly 2.3 million residents who live in buildings built before 1974 that have six or more units, always ignites passionate debate and an intense lobbying effort from tenants and landlords.

But even by those standards, the meeting on Wednesday was a surreal scene. It was held virtually for the second year in a row, and the two members of the board who represent tenants attended it from a rally, joined by renters and housing groups. Immediately after the vote, chants at the rally drowned out the voice of David Reiss, the board’s chairman; then the representatives’ microphones appeared to be muted.

A slim majority of renters in New York City pay market-based rents, which are still among the highest in the United States even after asking rents for those units dropped to 10-year lows during the pandemic.

Esteban Giron, who lives in Crown Heights with his husband, said that they used to pay about 30 percent of their monthly income toward rent. Now, it is closer to 75 percent after his husband lost his job during the pandemic.

“It will be a long climb back for families like mine,” Mr. Giron, a tenant advocate, told the members of the Rent Guidelines Board at a public hearing last week. “The board should stop entertaining the notion that this is in any way an even or balanced fight here.”

The vote came during a momentous period for renters not just in New York City but across the country. On Wednesday, the federal government signaled it would extend the moratorium on evictions imposed during the pandemic, which were supposed to expire this month. They would now lapse in July, while a moratorium put in place by New York State ends in August.

While most evictions are on hold, landlords can still file eviction cases in New York City Housing Court. Since the start of the pandemic, they have filed more than 57,000 cases, according to the Eviction Lab at Princeton University. But those cases, which cannot proceed until after the moratorium is lifted, could take many months, if not years, to be heard before a judge.

This month, New York State also started accepting applications for tenants to receive rent relief through $2.7 billion largely funded by the federal government. Tenants can receive up to a year’s worth of past-due rent and a year’s worth of utility arrears. About 110,000 completed applications from across the state have been submitted so far, according the state’s Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, which is overseeing the assistance program.

On one side, tenants and housing rights groups argued that New York is still climbing out of the depths of a pandemic and the worst recession in decades and has yet to experience the kind of robust economic rebound that would warrant rent increases. Many renters have not found jobs, are still collecting unemployment or working reduced hours, and are having trouble affording their current rents, they said.

In fact, tenant groups tried to rally support for a reduction in rents, which the board has never adopted in its 52-year history. Some members of the board proposed a rent reduction during a preliminary vote last month, but that proposal failed to gain majority approval.

But landlords and the organizations that represent them have been sounding the alarm on what they believe are unsustainable rising costs in their buildings. They say that nearly all expenses, from water bills to the cost of labor to real estate taxes, have jumped sharply in recent years and put a significant strain on landlords who maintain a healthy stock of affordable housing in the city.

During the meeting, the two members on the board who represent property owners proposed increases that would have been the highest in eight years. They suggested a one-year increase of 2.75 percent and an increase of 5.75 percent on two-year leases, but failed to gain broader support among the board members.

“We should be setting rent increases commensurate with increases in operating costs,” said Robert Ehrlich, a board member.

The pandemic has worsened the situation for property owners, they said, while some renters have been unable to pay rent over the past 15 months.

Sam Schreiber, who manages a portfolio of 125 residential units in Manhattan, half of which are rent-stabilized, said expenses were increasing at such a sustained rate that a few of his smaller buildings could be losing money within five years.

All his buildings lost money during the pandemic, he said, because so many tenants in the market-rate units moved out of the city. The financial situation for his family-owned real estate business has become so unsteady that Mr. Schreiber has decided for the first time to invest in properties outside New York City.

Mr. Schreiber said that the recent votes by the Rent Guidelines Board, along with the sweeping tenant protections passed by the State Legislature in 2019, have strapped the ability of landlord to invest in their properties.

“I just wish it wasn’t so contentious with tenants versus landlords,” Mr. Schreiber said in an interview. “Rent is not necessarily going into our pockets when we raise rents. It’s really going to maintain the upkeep of our buildings that are over 100 years old.”
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Re: NYC rent increases for stabilized apartments 2021-2022

Postby TenantNet » Tue Nov 02, 2021 8:05 pm

To the person who posted the question about the RTP-8 rent stab renewal form, the latest version is dated 6/21 (at the bottom left of the form). You can find it at https://hcr.ny.gov/system/files/documen ... llable.pdf

The form refers to the RGB Order #53 (2021-2021) where the first six months of a one-year renewal is at 0% and the second six months is 1.5%. No increase can be collected until the second six months of the lease term. For a two-year renewal, the increase is 2.5% for the full term of the renewal lease.
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Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant
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