Rent pressures and rent burdens have been rising across the city in both gentrifying communities and low-income neighborhoods. As CSS housing experts Tom Waters and Victor Bach found in a report released last month, the median rent-regulated low-income household pays nearly 50 percent of its income in rent. This number increased during the housing boom before 2008 and has remained high, in part due to excessive rent increases allowed by the Rent Guidelines Board (RGB).
Last year, the RGB appropriately froze rents on one-year leases. They should take the same approach at this evening’s final vote and once again freeze rents on one-year leases while keeping two-year leases to a modest increase.
By doing so, the RGB would acknowledge its own staff analysis showing landlord operating costs have decreased. More than 400,000 households with incomes below twice the poverty threshold live in rent-stabilized housing, far more than those who live in public or subsidized housing. By freezing rents the RGB will significantly slow down rent pressures on low-income New Yorkers living in rent-stabilized apartments and preserve this critical source of affordable housing.