Suburban RGBs Vote Small Increases

Rent-stabilized tenants in New York City will enjoy a one-year rent freeze next year, but the more than 35,000 in the suburbs will have to pay somewhat more. 

The Westchester County Rent Guidelines Board voted June 22 to allow rent increases for the year starting Oct. 1 at 1.75 percent for a one-year lease renewal and 2.75 percent for two years. The increases will affect tenants in the more than 25,000 rent-stabilized apartments in the county if they renew their leases during the year beginning Oct. 1.

“We are phenomenally disappointed,” RGB tenant representative Genevieve Roche told the Journal-News. “This year and last year a rent freeze was justified.” The county has lost 5 percent of the apartments that rented for less than $1,000 a month in the last year, she added. Tenant advocates say 5,150 units in Westchester have been destabilized since 2010, when the board voted a one-year rent freeze.

Landlords had asked for increases of 4 percent for one year and 6 percent for two years, with minimum increases of $40 and $60 for apartments covering apartments that rent for less than $1,000. “The tenant representatives are always of the belief that landlords shouldn’t make money, shouldn’t make a profit and should be responsible for society offering affordable housing,” owner representative Kenneth Finger told the Journal-News.

Twenty cities, towns, and villages in Westchester have apartments covered by rent stabilization. The largest numbers are in Yonkers, Mount Vernon, and New Rochelle.

In Nassau County, the rent board voted June 29 to allow increases of 1.25 percent for a one-year lease and 1.75 percent for two years. The county’s about 9,000 rent-stabilized apartments are located in 14 municipalities, including Hempstead, Long Beach, Glen Cove, and Mineola.

In Rockland County, the RGB voted June 30 for one-year increases of 1.25 percent and 1.5 percent for two years. The board also imposed a $25 “poor tax” surcharge on units that rent for less than $950. Rockland has slightly less than 1,700 rent-stabilized apartments, in the towns of Haverstraw and Spring Valley.