RGB Public Members Beginning to Understand Owner Difficulties
As you know, the City Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) will hold their Final Vote on June 26th. In the weeks leading up to the vote, the Board will hold five public hearings in four boroughs that will give RSA members a chance to make their case for the highest possible rent guidelines (Click here for hearing dates).
Since Mayor Bill de Blasio took office in 2014, RSA members have come out in strong numbers at the public hearings despite the one-sided, pro-tenant approach this Board has had over the last five years. While the Board has leaned heavily in favor of tenant interests over the last several years, continued increases in operating costs, as well as vastly improved economic conditions for tenants, has given owners justifiable arguments for reasonable rent increases this year.
On May 30th, RSA hosted a special Membership Meeting dedicated to preparing our members for the RGB public hearings held in June. At that meeting, RGB Owner Representative Angela Pinsky, who was appointed to the Board just days before the Preliminary Vote in April, as well as Public Members David Reiss, Hilary Botein and Rodrigo Camarena, joined RSA members to hear their stories privately.
RGB Public Members were intrigued by some of the issues smaller owners are facing with the inadequate rent guidelines over the last four years, particularly two straight years of rent freezes. The common misconception is that all building owners are doing well financially no matter how big or small their building. This meeting gave these Public Members an opportunity to understand that this notion is the furthest from the truth and that building operating costs, such as ever-increasing property taxes, are a burden for owners.
Although dozens of RSA members were able to speak to these RGB Members, we need additional owners to sign up and speak at one or more of the upcoming public hearings. It is no secret that the Preliminary Range of 0.75% to 2.75% for one-year leases is completely inadequate considering the increase in operating costs, but it is vital that we fight for the highest possible guideline increase in that range.
Under the de Blasio Administration, this Board has never approved more than a 1.25% increase for one-year leases. We strongly believe that if RSA members and other rent-stabilized property owners make their voices heard at this year’s public hearings, we can avoid another historically low-guideline and achieve a more respectable rent increase.
The impact of the stories heard at the RSA Membership Meeting, as well as the stories heard at the public hearings, could have a positive impact on the Public Members, whose votes will be the difference maker at the Final Vote at the end of June.
Inside this special edition of the RSA Reporter is all the information you need when preparing your testimony. This is your opportunity to make a difference during this year’s RGB Deliberations!