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New York City Rent Guidelines Board agrees on preliminary rent hike range after protesters take over public meeting

NYC Rent Guidelines Board votes for preliminary rent hike
NYC Rent Guidelines Board votes for preliminary rent hike 02:28

NEW YORK -- Protesters on Tuesday night took over a public meeting on rent increases for New York City's 1 million rent-stabilized apartments

The Rent Guidelines Board did eventually take a first vote on a range for rent increases, but as CBS2's Tim McNicholas reports, the vote left both renters and landlords wanting more.

The city's Rent Guidelines Board is considering a rental increase, but throughout the meeting, tenants and tenant advocates called for a rent decrease, drowning out the board with chants and jeers.

Eventually protesters, including some City Council members, climbed onstage, expressing outrage that the board was considering rent hikes up to 15.75% on two-year leases.

Watch Tim McNicholas' report

Protests erupt during rent hike vote for rent-stabilized apartments 02:27

"It would put me right, right on the edge, if not make me homeless," one tenant said.

"I really hope that the landlords hear us, that the mayor hears us, that the city hears us. It's not right," another tenant said.

Tenant advocates argue any increase will worsen poverty and homelessness.

"The first solution would be for the board to adopt a 0 percent increase to freeze rents to allow tenant to come out from under the economic devastation that they have been under for the past couple of years," said Robert Desir, state attorney for the Legal Aid Society.  

Landlords, on the other hand, say rent hikes are needed.

"Rent, which is income for buildings, is desperately needed to address ever-increasing costs," said Michael Tobman, with the Rent Stabilization Association.

"The rent-stabilized housing stock is old. It's aging. Old buildings need constant, constant upkeep, constant attention, constant maintenance. Rent is how a building owner covers those expenses," said Ann Korchak, board president of the Small Property Owners of New York.  

Eventually, board members representing tenants and board members representing owners proposed two drastically different ranges for rent changes. Both proposals were struck down.

The board then agreed on a preliminary rent hike range, voting for a 2-5% increase on one-year leases and a 4-7% increase on two-year leases.

"It was disappointing that the ranges didn't reflect the true cost of running affordable housing in New York City," Tobman said.

"Not the desired outcome. In light of the potential for up to 16 percent, I guess it could be worse," one tenant said.

Mayor Eric Adams released the following statement:

"While we are reviewing the preliminary ranges put forward by the Rent Guidelines Board this evening, I want to be clear that a seven-percent rent increase is clearly beyond what renters can afford and what I feel is appropriate this year. I recognize that property owners face growing challenges maintaining their buildings and accessing financing to make repairs; at the same time, we simply cannot put tenants in a position where they can't afford to make rent. Members of the RGB are tasked with making independent decisions based on all available data. However, I hope they will look at options below the top of these preliminary ranges to strike the right balance to keep New Yorkers in their homes while providing building owners with the resources they need to provide safe, high-quality homes."

The Rent Guidelines Board is appointed by the mayor and includes two members representing tenants, two representing landlords and five representing the general public.

Those ranges may shape how the board acts in its final vote in June, but Tuesday's vote is just preliminary.

Last year, the board approved the highest rent increase in nearly a decade.  

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