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Millions of New Yorkers facing rent hikes of up to 4% for 1-year lease

A raucous preliminary vote by the Rent Guidelines Board was held at LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City on Tuesday evening.
Téa Kvetenadze for ϲʿֱ
A raucous preliminary vote by the Rent Guidelines Board was held at LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City on Tuesday evening. (Téa Kvetenadze for ϲʿֱ)
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Around 2 million New Yorkers living in stabilized apartments will likely see their rents climb for the third year in a row, after the board tasked with setting rates okayed a range of possible hikes at a raucous on Tuesday — as tenants and their board representatives walked out in protest.

The rest of the , a nine-person panel appointed by the mayor that also includes two owner reps and five public ones, approved rent hikes between 2% and 4% for one-year leases and 4% and 6.5% for two-year leases, numbers that will be finalized at a vote on June 17. The decision was 5-2 with two abstentions after tenant representatives Genesis Aquino and Adán Soltren abandoned the vote, with Soltren declaring “the only vote we’ll be making tonight is one of no confidence in this mayor and in this board.”

It comes amid a historically bad housing shortage and ongoing affordability crisis where to make a living.

Tenant representative Adán Soltren speaks outside the Rent Guidelines Board vote at LaGuardia Community College.
Téa Kvetenadze for ϲʿֱ
Tenant representative Adán Soltren speaks outside the Rent Guidelines Board vote at LaGuardia Community College. (Téa Kvetenadze for ϲʿֱ)

Tuesday’s vote, hosted at LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City, was part of the fraught annual ritual of tenant and landlord groups lobbying the board for rent reductions and rent increases, respectively, that would affect about 1 million apartments across the city.

The frustration was palpable among the hundreds of tenants who rallied at the event, speaking, chanting and brandishing banners in four languages. Board chair Nestor Davidson was drowned out entirely by an endless chant of boos and cries of “Rent rollback.”

“If you ask me if the voices of the New York City tenants matter in this process, I would say no,” Aquino said. “The process is a sham.”

Crystal Velasquez, 48, has lived in a rent-stabilized apartment in Flushing for 15 years.

“There’s just no way that the average person can keep up with these rent increases,” she said. “Rent stabilization is the best deal we’ve got, and even that is not complete protection.”

Ramón Méndez-Rivas, 31, is a tenant leader with the nonprofit .

“Landlords, they always get a second chance, but tenants never get a second chance,” he said. “If landlords can’t afford their buildings then they shouldn’t have their buildings. … Why are these people getting rents increased year after year after year?”

As in years past, tenants and advocates have pointed to surges in and , rent burden, inflation and the soaring cost of living in calling for rents to be rolled back or frozen.

The landlord lobby, in turn, to offset operating expenses for their buildings, particularly older ones and those in outer boroughs.

“Stabilized building owners are relying on the [Board] to trust its own data to support necessary rent increases to help them meet constantly escalating operating costs. Rents are failing to meet these costs,” Steve Mangione, spokesperson for the Rent Stabilization Association, said in a statement. “This trend has to change for the sake of owners, tenants, and the city’s affordable housing stock.”

The rent adjustment ranges decided in the preliminary vote typically align with the board’s final numbers. Rent hikes were relatively low during the de Blasio era and were frozen during parts of the pandemic.

“I must be clear that a 6.5% increase goes far beyond what is reasonable to ask tenants to take on at this time,” Mayor Adams said in a statement following Tuesday’s vote.

In 2022, the board approved a 3.25% raise for one-year leases from a preliminary range of 2%-4%, and a 5% increase for two-year leases from a range of 4%-6%. Last year it was 3% for one-year leases from a 2%-5% range and 2.75% for the first half of a two-year lease and 3.2% for the second from an initial range of 4%-7%.

The board will next host a series of meetings across the city to hear from the public ahead of the final vote, scheduled for June 17. Any changes would go into effect starting Oct. 1.

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