The Rent Justice Coalition brought tenants from across New York City to Manhattan to demand the Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) freeze costs for rent-stabilized apartments for a third straight year, but left downhearted when the board voted to raise rents instead.
The RGB met Tuesday at Cooper Union for a preliminary vote on rent adjustments for 2017-19. Tenants lobbied board members before the meeting claiming rents were too high. Landlords countered by saying their costs have gone up and they need rent rises to make ends meet. The RGB proposed a 1 to 3% increase for one-year leases and a 2 to 4% increase for two-year leases, hiking costs for over two million New Yorkers living in rent-stabilized accommodation.
Tenants’ rights activists were left furious by the decision. “Members of the RGB literally ignored the hundreds of tenants pleading for relief in front of them last night. Instead, they sided with landlords whose profit margins continue to widen on the backs of low-income New Yorkers. Rents can and should be fair for all parties involved – and the RGB continues to skew in the moneyed interests of landlords,” says Elliot Friar, 22, a co-founder of the Manhattan Young Democrats’ Affordable Living Task Force.
He adds that though around 200 tenants showed up for the rally, an overwhelming majority were middle-aged or older.
“It is essential for young people to join these causes, stand up and fight for an equitable city. That’s exactly what we’re doing with the Affordable Living Task Force,” says Friar.
The RGB’s final vote will take place on June 27.