NYC rent hike could affect 1M apartments with up to 9% increase

Tenants living in rent-stabilized apartments could see their rents go up by as much as 4.5% on a one-year lease and as much as 9% on a two-year lease if the Rent Guidelines Board okays new rent increases.

Tenant advocates say if that happens, the city will see more people becoming homeless.

Mercedes Escoto is a retired social worker who takes care of her 84-year-old bedridden mother. She currently pays more than $1,400 a month for her rent-stabilized two-bedroom, one-bath apartment near the South Bronx. She says she cannot afford a rent increase.

"I don't know what's gonna happen. I will be evicted. Me and my mother who's bedbound. It's going to be terrible for us," Escoto told FOX 5 NY.

"People are really struggling right now," said Andrea Shapiro of the Met Council on Housing, a tenant's rights organization.

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According to Shapiro, any rent increase for rent-regulated apartments in the city would be devastating.  

"Many people still haven't actually been able to get full-time jobs yet after our COVID recession," Shapiro said.

Landlords are telling a different story.

Chris Athineos and his family own multiple small apartment buildings in Brooklyn between two and six stories tall. He told FOX 5 NY that the Rent Guidelines Board must raise rents to help landlords.  

"Costs have just skyrocketed. Fuel has gone up. We have a lot of mandates from the city council like new energy efficiencies, lead paint abatement, facade improvements," Athineos said.

The Rent Stabilization Association, which represents 25,000 landlords in New York City, says building owners have suffered during the pandemic. 

"Owners were still required to pay all of their expenses, mortgages, property taxes, water bills, heating expenses and, in addition, all of those expenses went up over the last two years," said Vito Signorile, Vice President of the RSA. 

However, Sam Stein, a housing policy analyst, says rent increases will put people out on the streets.

"We already have hundreds of thousands of people in the queue in eviction courts and we cannot have more," Stein said.

The Rent Guidelines Board is voting on the possible rent increases Thursday night.