On June 17, the New York City Rent Guidelines Board approved new rent stabilized apartment guidelines for lease renewals that commence on or after October 1, 2020. These rent increases are set at 0% for the first year of all lease renewals and 1% for the second year (if a two-year renewal is selected). This is the third time in six years that rent regulated tenants have had the option for a rent freeze and comes amidst a massive economic crisis brought on by COVID-19.
The Rent Guidelines Board is the entity designated by New York City to establish rent adjustments in accordance with Rent Stabilization Law in New York State and is composed of both tenant and landlord representatives. There are approximately one million rent regulated units in New York City, the vast majority of which are rent stabilized, and the 81st Assembly District has a significantly higher than average quantity of rent stabilized housing units compared to other parts of the city.
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said: “There are tens of thousands of families in my district living in rent stabilized housing, and this rent freeze is assuredly going to make a difference for many of them as they decide whether they can afford to keep their homes amidst the ongoing pandemic and economic crisis. Last year the Assembly helped pass a monumental pro-tenant legislative package. This year we passed my legislation – the Tenant Safe Harbor Act, which would create a permanent eviction moratorium for people suffering financial hardship during the COVID-19 crisis – as well as created a framework for financial relief for tenants in need of help. This rent freeze builds on that momentum to restore power to tenants, and although we still have work to do to rectify decades of landlords eroding basic tenant protections and depleting our rent stabilized housing stock – I am proud that we are continuing to move in the right direction. I am pleased with the Rent Guidelines Board vote, although I would have preferred no increase at all either in the first or second year. I encourage them to continue considering not only future rent freezes but also rent rollbacks that would reduce the number of severely rent burdened families in our city.”