NEW YORK - Tenants living in rent-stabilized apartments in New York City protested outside a public hearing held by the city's Rent Guidelines Board in the Bronx on Wednesday to protest what appears to be an inevitable rent hike.
The board is supporting rent increases between 2 and 4% for one-year leases and between 4 and 6% for two-year leases for rent-stabilized apartments.
However, tenants, many of whom are on fixed incomes, say they cannot afford to pay their current rent, let alone an increase.
"By the time I pay rent, lights and for a phone that is necessary, I have nothing left. I'm at food pantries," said Kim Statuto, who pays nearly $1,800 a month for a one-bedroom apartment in the Tremont section of the Bronx.
On the other side of the debate, are landlords who say they need a sizable rent increase so they can keep up with rising expenses like property taxes, heating, costs, water bills, and repairs.
The Rent Stabilization Association, which represents 25,000 landlords who own more than one million rent-stabilized apartments in the city says it's time for the government to step in and help both sides.
"How about a real voucher program or a real subsidy program that helps low-income tenants pay rent increases and helps landlords reinvest in their buildings?" said Vito Signorile of the Rent Stabilization Association.
The Rent Guidelines Board will hold its final vote next Tuesday on what the exact increases will be.