The Race Against the Rent Hike
Politicians only respect power
Last week, the staff of the Rent Guidelines Board, which governs rent levels for more than one million rent-stabilized tenants, recommended large hikes for next year.
The four-person staff suggested rent increases between 2.7% and 4.5% for one-year leases and 4.3% to 9% for two-year leases. They outlined the hikes to a nine-member board that has at least two tenant-hostile Eric Adams appointees. As mayor, Adams has the power to appoint all nine members, who serve staggered terms. Many are still holdovers from the Bill de Blasio years, when the board was far more tenant-friendly and rents were frozen multiple times.
This year will be different. In June, the board will probably follow some version of the staff recommendation and vote to hike rents rather dramatically, returning New York to the Bloomberg era, a heady time for landlords. Securing a rent-stabilized apartment during de Blasio’s eight years in power meant nonexistent or minor rent increases in a city that was otherwise inordinately expensive. Rent-stabilized apartments are not always cheap—in fact, many have rents not far off the market-rate—but they offer precious predictability for working and middle-class tenants, since occupants enjoy a right to a lease-renewal.