Last night, the Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) voted on Preliminary Rent Guidelines for lease renewals beginning October 1, 2013 through September 30, 2014. The preliminary guidelines for apartments and lofts are:
For a one-year renewal: range of 3.25 to 6.25 %
For a two-year renewal: range of 5 to 9.5 %
The increase for all classes of Hotels and SROs was a range of 0-3%.
The special guideline for rent controlled units entering rent stabilization is the MBR plus 30% or the HUD FMR, whichever is greater.
During invited RGB testimony on April 25th, the RSA called for rent increases to be the greater of: 7% or $70 for a one-year lease and 11% or $110 for a two-year lease. The proposed guidelines do not include a minimum dollar increase for low rent apartments. Last year, the preliminary guideline also did not include a low rent adjustment but, because of strong public testimony from owners, it was included in the final guideline. If you have low rent apartments (below $1,000 per month) that did not benefit from the low rent adjustment last year, you must testify on June 13th to tell the RGB that it is only fair that all your low rent apartments benefit from this one-time increase.
While the proposed range of increase is less than what the RSA asked for, remember that last year's final guidelines were at the low end of the proposed range. If you need rent guidelines higher than 3.25% and 5% this year you must testify on June 13th. Tell the RGB that you need rent guidelines of at least 6.25% and 9.5% for one- and two-year lease renewals.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Last night, RGB Chairman Kimmel said that the RGB's final rent guidelines will be determined by the testimony provided by tenants and owners at the RGB Public Hearings to be held on Thursday, June 13, 2013. The RGB Public Hearing is your only chance to get higher rent guidelines and a low-rent adjustment. Don't let this opportunity go to waste. Tenants will be there calling for zero rent guidelines or rent roll-backs. Unless property owners make their voice heard, the rent guidelines will be low and there will be no low rent adjustment.
Register to speak by calling the RGB at 212-3285-2934, or call the RSA at 212-214-9200.
SAVE THE DATES:
Even if you don't feel comfortable testifying, please attend the following RGB meetings to show support for your fellow property owners who will be. Owners must show up this year in large numbers!
Public Testimony: Thursday, June 13th at 10AM- Emigrant Savings Bank Building, 49-51 Chambers St., between Broadway and Centre St (across the street from City Hall). Registration closes at 7:00pm.
RGB Final Vote: Thursday, June 20th at 5:30PM- Cooper Union, 7 East 7th St.
Testimony can last up to three minutes and the following points should be included:
- It is only fair that minimum rent increases be approved again this year so that all low rent apartments can benefit from a necessary one-time rent increase.
- The 5.9% increase in operating costs this year should be a floor for rent increases, not the ceiling. The Price Index does not include many costs such as backflow prevention devices, energy benchmarking, façade repairs, lead paint abatement, etc.
- If you have Section 8 tenants, remind them that you lost money last year as a result of the City's mismanagement of the Section 8 program. Not only tenants, but OWNERS, rely on government subsidies to maintain buildings.
As property owners, we must present a unified message to the Board. RGB members do not manage buildings on a day-to-day basis and do not know everything that is required to provide housing for tenants. Use your testimony as an opportunity to tell your story. Tell the RGB about a particularly high unexpected expense you had this past year. Keep it short, keep it simple. Stay on message.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Contact Courtney Ronner, Director of Communications, at 212-214-9235 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Ms. Ronner can help you put together your testimony and provide you with talking points.