The Rent Guidelines Board on Wednesday voted to freeze rents for one year for rent-regulated apartments, offering tenants temporary relief in the current economic recession caused by the coronavirus. The nine-member board approved a measure that freezes rent for one-year leases and for the first year of two-year leases, which can increase 1 percent during the second year.
With more than a million New Yorkers out of work as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, many tenants will struggle to pay rent on Friday. Hoping to pressure Gov. Andrew Cuomo to cancel rent for the duration of the health crisis, a coalition of housing advocates is leading a statewide rent strike on May 1, with thousands of renters already pledging to skip payments. But landlords, who argue rental income pays for the growing costs of building maintenance, are fighting for relief themselves.
A report released on Thursday by the Rent Guidelines Board recommends a rent increase on rent-stabilized apartments to mitigate a surge in operating costs for owners. During the board’s first virtual meeting, members reviewed the report, which says rent increases should be between 2.5 and 3.5 percent for one-year leases and 3.3 and 6.75 percent for two-year leases. The recommendation comes as officials and tenant advocacy groups have called for a rent freeze during the coronavirus pandemic, which has put thousands of New Yorkers out of work.
With rents on the rise and the e-commerce industry showing no signs of slowing, the livelihood of small businesses in New York City remains under threat. Council Member Stephen Levin, who represents parts of Brooklyn, hopes to address the high rate of retail vacancies across the city with legislation to regulate commercial rents, as Gothamist first reported. “It’s a complex problem,” Levin, who will introduce a bill to the City Council next week, told the website. “We think it’s time to introduce this into the conversation.”
In June, New York state lawmakers passed landmark legislation to strengthen rent and tenant protections. Hoping to clear up any ambiguity over the new laws, Mayor Bill de Blasio is launching an ad campaign and new website to help renters understand their rights as well as hold landlords responsible. Starting Monday, ads will be displayed across subway stations, bus stops, local newspapers, small businesses, and Link kiosks until Dec. 15.
412 West 46th Street. Image via Google Street View..
The city has named the owners of three Hell’s Kitchen buildings in a lawsuit filed this week in Manhattan Supreme Court for operating illegal short-term rentals in rent-stabilized apartments, the New York Observer reports. The city says the owners of 410 and 412 West 46th Street and 452 West 36th Street have neglected their buildings, harassed tenants to get them to move out, deregulated units and kept units vacant to rent out on a short-term basis. Tenants of one building were left without gas or a roof for six months in 2015 due to a fire; the other two are awash in building code violations.
In June, the state’s Court of Appeals found that apartments at two Lower Manhattan buildings had been unlawfully deregulated by landlords who had collected millions of dollars in benefits under a 1995 tax program. Now, as The City reports, thousands of former or current tenants in the area may be owed up to six years in back rent from landlords who received the tax breaks for years.
Via Creative Commons
A group of real estate groups and individual property owners filed a lawsuit Monday, challenging newly passed laws that strengthen rent and tenant protections in New York City. Last month, Democratic officials in Albany passed a landmark package of bills that close loopholes that have allowed landlords to increase rents and deregulate stabilized apartments. The lawsuit, filed by the Rent Stabilization Association (RSA), the Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP), and seven individual property owners, claims that the laws, as well as the entire rent regulation system, violate the 14th and Fifth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, as reported by The Real Deal.
In front of a packed auditorium at Cooper Union’s Great Hall last night, the Rent Guidelines Board voted on rent hikes for the city’s one million rent-stabilized apartments, the New York Times reports. The board voted 5-4 and approved a 1.5% increase on one-year leases and 2.5% on two-year leases. The new rents will kick in on October 1.
Image via Pixabay.
Real estate industry leaders say they will file a lawsuit against the state to challenge a package of bills containing changes to current rent regulations, which expire on June 15, the Observer reports. As 6sqft previously reported, the legislative package headed to both chambers for a vote this week contains landmark changes to current rent regulations aimed at strengthening New York’s rent laws and tenant protections. Industry stakeholders say they’ll challenge the legislation on several points including one that makes the rules permanent, rather than having them expire every few years. The lawsuit would also challenge the retroactive nature of a provision to lower the amount landlords can charge for major capital improvements.