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Say goodbye to NYC's rent freeze

By Clayton Guse

The rent freeze that's been in effect for New York's rent-stabilized apartments over the past two years is likely coming to an end. 

The NYC Rent Guidelines Board, the local body that establishes rent adjustments for the roughly 1 million units in the city that are covered under the 1974 Rent Stabilization Law, cast a preliminary vote on Tuesday to allow for slight increases in rent come October. The board recommended increasing the rent for one-year leases signed between October 1, 2017 and September 30, 2018 by 1 to 4 percent, and a raise on two-year leases by a factor of 2 to 4 percent. 

The decision isn't final yet. The board will be hosting a series of five public hearings from June 5 through 19 before voting to approve the rent hikes in a June 27 meeting. 

The proposed hikes are smaller than what landlord groups have been pushing for, but take into account the rising cost of operating a rent-stabilized building in New York. A study from the Rent Guidelines Board found that the operating cost for such buildings rose by 6.2 percent over the last year, which includes a whopping 25 percent increase in fuel costs. 

Even with the modest hikes, landlords of many of rent-stabilized apartments have other ways to jack up rents on tenants. The folks over at ProPublica have documented the way in which renters in nearly 30 percent of the city's rent-stabilized units are subject to a loophole that allows for landlords to jack up their rent without much notice. 

If you worried about the impeding rent hikes, head out to one of the board's hearings in June and let your voice be heard. In the meantime, brush up on your rights as a tenant and ponder intensely about how so many people can afford to live in NYC's most expensive neighborhoods.


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