NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — For the first time in its history Monday, the New York City Rent Guidelines Board voted in favor of a rent freeze on one-year rent-stabilized leases.

The board voted 7-2 for no increase for one-year leases and a 2 percent increase for two-year leases, CBS2’s Matt Kozar reported. It was the first vote for a rent increase in the 46-year history of the board.

As CBS2’s Matt Kozar reported, members of the Rent Guidelines Board said their decision was a compromise between tenants and landlords. But while many tenants were overjoyed, landlords did not see it as a compromise at all.

The room at Cooper Union exploded with cheers when the board that regulates the rent for 1 million rent-stabilized apartments made the decision.

“God acts in mysterious ways. I think it was a blessing,” said one attendee at the Monday evening meeting. “Everybody needed this for a pickup and a boost.”

Susan Schropp said she has lived her East Village apartment for 26 years, and now she can stay.

“It will allow me to stay in my rent stabilized apartment,” she said. “I work in a creative field that doesn’t pay as much as the financial field.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the vote was the “right call.”

We know tenants have been forced to make painful choices that pitted ever-rising rent against necessities like groceries, childcare and medical bills,” the mayor said in part in a statement. “Today’s decision means relief.”

Brooklyn City Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-45th) said affordable housing is difficult to find in the city. He applauded the board’s decision.

“They always looked at the climate, and for some reason, the climate was never good enough for a rent freeze,” Williams said, “and today, they changed that.”

The Rent Justice Coalition also called the vote a victory worthy of celebration.

“Through its history, the RGB continually increased rents for stabilized tenants, often ignoring financial data which revealed high landlord profits, stable operating costs and decreasing tenant incomes,” the group said. “This year, seven RGB members, including the tenant representatives and all of the public members, voted for a zero percent increase for a one year lease and a two percent increase for a two year lease.”

Some tenants were also ecstatic, 1010 WINS’ Darius Radzius reported.

“This is a reprieve. We had hoped for a rollback, but this is a victory for us,” one tenant said.

Indeed, many in the standing-room-only crowd called for a rent rollback – among them former mayoral candidate Jimmy McMillan of the Rent Is Too Damn High Party.

“Rent is too damn high,” McMillan said after the vote.

But Jack Freund of the Rent Stabilization Association, representing landlords, called the vote a loss for both landlords and tenants, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.

“It’s also a loss for Mayor de Blasio and his housing plan, because he’s not going to preserve units this way,” Freund said. “He’s going to lose units.”

Freund said landlords’ costs are going up, and not allowing a rent hike will make their circumstances more difficult.

“You’ve got real estate taxes going up July 1 by 13 percent; water and sewer charges going up by 3 percent,” Freund said. “How are owners going to pay for that with a 0 percent rent increase? It can’t be done.”

Some landlords said the board was not paying attention to the data.

“They weren’t looking at the numbers last year, and they certainly weren’t looking at the numbers this year,” a landlord said.

The mayor said his administration will work with building owners to modernize properties to lower cost.

The vote Monday came less than a week after a deal in Albany to extend rent regulations. The tentative deal among legislative leaders raises the rent threshold at which a vacant apartment can be deregulated from $2,500 a month to $2,700.

The state’s rent regulation laws had expired June 16, but were temporarily extended as lawmakers continued to negotiate.

A year ago, the Rent Guidelines Board voted 5-4 to allow a 1 percent increase on one-year leases and a 2.75 percent increase on two-year leases.


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