We got a rent freeze!

In a historic decision, the Rent Guidelines Board voted for a rent freeze for one-year leases and a two percent increase for two-year leases. This is the first time in the RGB’s 46 year history rent-stabilized rents have been frozen. New York City has faced unreasonably high rent increases for far too long, but yesterday, tenants conquered. After the huge disappointment in Albany, we proved we are not powerless — we still have control over what happens to the tenants in our city.

For rent-stabilized leases which begin 10/1/2015 through 9/30/2016: 0% for 1 yr, 2% for 2 yr leases. (If your lease renews before 10/1/2015, the previous percentages are in effect: 1% for 1 yr, 2.75% for 2 yrs.)

This does not instantly freeze your rent, or mean that everyone’s upcoming renewal will have a frozen rent regardless of when the renewal is. It means that leases which are up for renewal within the above time period will be eligible for a rent freeze if renewed for one year. To further illustrate this, here is an example:

Jane lives in a Rent Stabilized apartment in New York City. Her lease renews on 8/1/2015. She heard about the rent freeze and is thrilled! Her renewal, though, because it is before 10/1/2015, is not eligible for the freeze. It has the 1% and 2.75% rates. She chooses the 1% increase. Then her lease will be up for renewal on 8/1/2016 — at that point, she can choose the 0% increase (because it is between 10/1/2015 and 9/30/2016. Her rent will be frozen from 8/1/2016 through 7/31/2017. When Jane renews her lease on 8/1/2017, there will be new percentages, which will have been voted on in June 2016.

Regarding the Rent Laws renewed in Albany:

After a long campaign that would not have been possible without your support, Governor Cuomo sided with the real estate industry over New York tenants and renewed the rent laws for four years with almost no changes. This is a direct message to tenants that the real estate industry still owns Albany.

  • The vacancy decontrol threshold was increased from $2500 to $2700 and indexed to Rent Guidelines Board increases.
  • Major Capital Improvements (MCI) increases were changed from 1/84 to 1/96 of total project cost for buildings with under 35 units and 1/108 increases for buildings with over 35 units.
  • For tenants with preferential rents, owners are allowed to accept a 5% vacancy bonus when the tenant leaves after living there for one year. If they are there for two years, the vacancy allowance is 10%, if they are there for three years, the vacancy allowance is 15%, and if they are there for four years, the increase goes up to the usual 20%.
  • The rent laws were renewed for 4 years, a period of time in which up to 100,000 rent stabilized units could be lost from the affordable housing stock.

New York needed meaningful strengthening of the rent laws to preserve strong and diverse communities and to mitigate the tenant harassment crisis. New York needed the repeal of deregulation, the end of vacancy allowances, Major Capital Improvement increases needed to be made temporary surcharges, and rent control rent increases needed to be reformed. 

This deal emboldens landlords to continue their bad practices. A basic extension of the status quo was exactly what the real estate industry wanted. Governor Cuomo served it to them on a silver platter.

At CSC, we will continue every day to fight for LES tenants so they can have an affordable place to live.