De Blasio’s Appointees On Rent Board Vote In Favor Of ‘Modest’ Rent Increase

Ignoring Mayor de Blasio’s and the City Council’s recommendation for a rent freeze, the Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) on Monday voted the increase the rent rate by a modest hike.

The nine-member board voted 5-4 to allow landlords of the city’s nearly 1 million rent stabilized units to increase rents by 1% for one-year leases and 2.75% on two-year leases.

While the increases are the lowest enacted in the board’s history, the refusal to pass the first freeze ever infuriated hundreds of tenants and pols throughout the city.

Mayor de Blasio called for a rent freeze ahead of the vote. But two of the six of board’s members he appointed, Steven Flax, a vice president at M & T Bank, who crafted the proposal and Sarah Williams Ward, voted for the rent hike. The remaining three members were holdovers from the Bloomberg administration.

“It is disappointing that the Rent Guidelines Board voted in support of a rent increase, despite hours of testimony from concerned, hard-working New Yorkers fighting to make ends meet,” NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said in a statement. “While we appreciate that the increase was kept to a minimum, as our city’s housing crisis comes to a head, it’s crucial that we utilize every opportunity to fight for and preserve affordability for the New Yorkers who call this city home.”

Wiley Norvell, a spokesman for the mayor, told The Daily News that de Blasio was glad the increases weren’t too steep. “The administration is heartened to keep any increase at a historic low,” he said.

06/24/2014 8:05 AM by Jacob Kornbluh

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