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New York City board votes to end rent freeze

A rent increase can be a significant concern for many renters which is why it is important for tenants to be familiar with their rights. Recently, the New York City Rent Guidelines Board voted to end the 2-year long rent increase freeze for the 1 million rent-stabilized units in New York City. The change, which will be subject to a final vote soon, would raise rents 1 to 3 percent on 1-year leases and 2 to 4 percent on 2-year leases.

Landlords were seeking a more substantial increase of 4 percent on 1-year leases and 8 percent on 2-year leases. Tenant groups were seeking another year of freeze and potential rollbacks associated with what they assert were overinflated rent increases in previous years. Tenants and landlords view the issue differently and landlords were primarily focused on property tax increases necessitating rent increases.

Representatives for the landlords reported that costs for rent-stabilized landlords have increase by 11 percent over the past 3 years and pointed to tax increases, as well as utility, fuel, labor, maintenance and insurance costs. Additionally, they point to cost increases over the past 11 years for landlords. How to interpret the data contained in the 2017 Price Index of Operating Costs is disputed between landlord and tenant groups. Landlords assert that the freeze, which was the first in the history of the city, prevents them from being able to conduct maintenance on aging buildings.

Some noted the belief the board was trying to balance interests of landlords and tenants in reaching its decision. Tenants in New York have important tenants rights related to rental rates, maintenance and other concerns such as lease renewals. It is of vital importance for tenants to know what their rights are and how to assert them when circumstances call for it.

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