Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Introducing the RGBlog

It’s been a tough year for tenants. Since the Rent Guidelines Board last met in June, 2012, we’ve seen: wages remaining persistently stagnant; New York City rents continuing to rise, with more and more apartments leaving rent stabilization; tax abatements for landlords passing through the State Assembly, including not only J-51 but also an expansion of 421-A to several luxury developments; sequestration slashing the federal budget, cutting programs many tenants rely on; and on top of all that, the worst storm New York has seen in decades, which turned life upside down for thousands of renters, as well as home owners. There have been some bright spots- thanks to the work of HCR’s Tenant Protection Unit, over 14,000 New York City apartments have been brought back into rent stabilization. But we still don’t know how rents will be set in those illegally deregulated apartments, and what the penalties will be for failing to register.

This is the context in which the Rent Guidelines Board gathers for its first meeting of the year on March 14th.

RGB season is an exasperating part of life for many New Yorkers. Without a doubt, landlords and their representatives will argue for sky-high rent increases, as they do every year. Many in the media, who have observed the RGB for years, will dismiss the calls of testifiers and protesters as “squabbling.” But behind it all are countless rent stabilized tenants who are struggling each month just to pay the rent and remain in their homes and communities.

The purpose of the Rent Guidelines Blog is to help make the case for tenants. We will be posting recaps of RGB meetings, analysis of housing data, news on rising rents, tenant stories from this past year, tips for testimonies, and more.

Check back for more to come soon…

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