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Landlords, Tenants Face Off At Rent Guidelines Board Public Hearing

Proposal Would Allow 3% Increase For 1-Year Leases, 4.5% For 2-Year Leases
Tenants hold signs at the Rent Guidelines Board public hearing, June 13, 2013. (credit: Juliet Papa/1010 WINS)

Tenants hold signs at the Rent Guidelines Board public hearing, June 13, 2013. (credit: Juliet Papa/1010 WINS)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The New York City Rent Guidelines Board held a public hearing in lower Manhattan Thursday.

As WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported, landlords were pitted against tenants and neither side was happy.

The rent board has proposed an increase on tenants of about a million rent-stabilized apartments.

Under the proposal, a one-year lease could see a rent increase from 3.25 percent to 6.25 percent. A two-year lease could go up from 5 percent to 9.5 percent, according to the rent board.

Crown Heights building owner Consta Nugent-Miller said the proposed increases aren’t enough.

“Especially after Hurricane Sandy, how are we going to make our building safe? How are we going to protect those boilers from flood? It’s not going to be done for free,” she told Diamond.

Rent Guidelines Board public hearing in lower Manhattan, June 13, 2013. (credit: Marla Diamond/WCBS 880)

Rent Guidelines Board public hearing in lower Manhattan, June 13, 2013. (credit: Marla Diamond/WCBS 880)

“My taxes are 80 percent higher now than five years and my rent revenues have gone up less than 20 percent,” Washington Heights landlord Michael Vinocur told Diamond.

Susan Steinberg, who has a rent-stabilized apartment in Peter Cooper Village, said the cards are stacked against the tenants.

“This is a real problem. Many people are losing their homes and it’s just time for tenants to get a break,” Steinberg told Diamond.

Two Democratic candidates for mayor addressed the board at the hearing.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio both called for a rent freeze this year.

“You have raised rents throughout the crisis. It’s time to stop doing that and provide people relief,” de Blasio said.

The rent board approved increases of 2 percent for one-year renewals and 4 percent for two-year leases last year.

The hearing goes until 7 p.m. Thursday evening at the Emigrant Savings Bank Building located at 49-51 Chambers Street.

No public hearing will be held in Brooklyn, the Bronx or Queens this year, due to past poor attendance.

A final vote on the rent increase recommendations is scheduled for Thursday June 20.

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