MANHATTAN, N.Y. (PIX11) – New York City’s sky-high rent is on its way to taking another step higher.
The Rent Guidelines Board voted Tuesday night to consider increasing the cost of rent for stabilized apartments.
In a close vote of five to four, the board chose to consider raising stabilized rates by a range of 2 to 5% for one-year leases and 4 to 7% for two-year leases.
At the meeting in the East Village at the Cooper Union Foundation Building, hundreds of unhappy, frustrated, and downright angry tenants were loud and outspoken about their feelings toward the potential increases.
The public meeting with the board to discuss it went off the rails the second it began. The crowd took over the stage, standing in front of the board members and blocking them out entirely.
“It’s enraging,” said New York City public school teacher Dutch. “These landlords do nothing but steal from us. It’s infuriating to think that I work for the city, and they don’t do anything for us to help.”
New York City already has some of the highest rental costs in the entire country. Last year, the Rent Guidelines Board voted for a 3.5% hike in rent costs for stabilized units, the largest rise seen in a decade.
Among the crowd of protesters was Ann Perryman. She represents a number of older residents in her Upper West Side apartment building.
“This whole thing of raising the rent like this actually pushes older people on a fixed income into programs, like SCRIE (the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption),” Perryman said. “Many people I know are too proud to want to take that. It makes them feel bad.”
The rent increase is being considered because landlords say they need to raise rates to keep up with the increased costs of energy, repairs, and everything else.
Tenants, like Dutch, said these increases are threatening their livelihoods.
“My family has a risk of being displaced if they continue to raise rents. My community continues to be displaced, along with my students and their families.”
A final vote on rent increases will not be held until June.