Post tagged with


Rent Board Hears From Tenants

IMG_0237Khristopher J. Brooks Adele Bender during today’s hearing.

Adele Bender is a quiet woman with short red hair who lives in a rent-stabilized apartment in Forest Hills, Queens.

The 80-year-old widow took an hour-long trip to the East Village this morning to tell the Rent Guidelines Board how she and her neighbors cannot afford to pay higher rent.

“I’m here for the concerns of senior citizens,” Ms. Bender said. “Social Security has not been increased, but rent has gone up. I have a friend, I can tell you right now, who gets $1,400 in Social Security a month and she has to pay for expensive drugs. Her pills are several hundred dollars. Look, I know we’re here talking about housing and not health, but most times they are connected.”

Ms. Bender and several other New York City residents have piled into Cooper Union’s Great Hall today hoping to convince board members not to increase rent prices this year.

More than 100 people from across the city have pre-registered to address board members and even more New Yorkers will arrive later today to speak to board members informally.
Read more…

Talk to the Rent Guidelines Board

Mobile HomeTim Schreier

East Villagers, Monday is your last chance to publicly address the Rent Guidelines Board before board members vote on rent increases.

The board held a public testimony session yesterday at the New York City College of Technology in Brooklyn. Board members will hold their final testimony session starting at 10 a.m. Monday inside Cooper Union’s Great Hall. Board members will listen to testimonies throughout the day and into the evening.

To the dismay of many East Villagers, the board took a preliminary vote last month to increase rent prices from 3 percent to 5.75 percent for tenants signing one-year apartment leases and from 6 percent to 9 percent for those inking a two-year lease.

Andrew McLaughlin, the board’s executive director, said Friday it’s tough to determine how much the public testimonies will impact the board’s final decision on increases.

“It’s certainly an important part of the process,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “It gives the board an opportunity to hear from the public, but the amount the testimonies impact the actual vote depends really on each individual board member.”

If you would like to speak during the public testimony session, arrive at the Great Hall before 6 p.m. and register with a board official.

Locals React to Rent Law Impasse

IMAG0153Khristopher J. Brooks A sign created by advocates for new rent laws.

As the hours tick by and criticism mounts, state lawmakers have not settled on a renewal plan for New York City rent laws.

Legislators in Albany allowed the law to expire Wednesday night and they’re now in extra innings trying to develop a solution that satisfies both Assembly Democrats and Senate Republicans. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has said that he wants the law renewed in some form before the 2011 legislative session ends Monday.

Meanwhile, local tenants and tenant advocacy groups in our neighborhood are anxious to find out what will happen. They’re constantly checking news Web sites, e-mailing their contacts in the Capitol and taking their protest efforts to a higher level. Here’s some local reaction to the deliberations in Albany.

Steve Herrick
Executive Director
Cooper Square Committee

“I think it’s not surprising that it’s come down to the wire again because the Republicans have the majority in the Senate and so they have a little more leeway there, but luckily we have Gov. Cuomo on our side. Tenants are going to continue calling Cuomo and telling him they appreciate what he’s doing, but he has to continue to apply some pressure.”
Read more…

Locals Join Albany Rent Law Protest

Albany Rent Law Rally 1Khristopher J. Brooks Protesters at the rally.

ALBANY — Hundreds of New York City residents, including 33 from the East Village, converged on the state Capitol Building Monday trying to urge state lawmakers to renew and tweak the laws that govern apartment rent prices.

Leaders of the Cooper Square Committee, Real Rent Reform and Good Old Lower East Side, organized the rally, which muscled its way into the building, past legislators, up steps and eventually to the office of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

Shouting “Fight! Fight! Fight! Housing is right!” the rally participants started on the fourth floor and then moved to whichever other corridor could accommodate them. They made noise, blew whistles, waved posters, banged on doors and clogged hallways.

“Right now, in Albany, our presence and our demands are being heard more than ever, more than I can ever remember,” said Wasim Lone, housing services director for Good Old Lower East Side.

At issue is how and at what rate landlords should be allowed to raise rent in future years. In its current form, the rent laws allow New York City landlords to dramatically increase the rent of a property immediately after a tenant has moved out. This practice, known as “vacancy decontrol” has resulted in roughly 300,000 empty rental units across New York City, said Marina Metalios, 48, a volunteer with Real Rent Reform.
Read more…

A Bus Trip to Back New Rent Laws

IMG_0158Khristopher J. Brooks The committee is an organizer of the trip.

Leaders of the Cooper Square Committee and the Good Old Lower East Side are organizing a free bus trip to Albany Monday so East Villagers can speak out in favor of changes to New York City rent laws.

“We’re planning to have a rally inside the Capitol,” said Georgina Christ, housing chairperson for Cooper Square Committee. “We’re just gonna make noise and try to talk to the elected officials.”

At issue is how and at what rate landlords will be allowed to raise rent in future years. Rent prices are a particularly hot-button issue for locals since the East Village is the home of some of the city’s most expensive rental properties.

As the law stands, Ms. Christ said, landlords are allowed to dramatically raise the rent of a property after a tenant has moved out, a practice known as “vacancy decontrol” that prevents future tenants from paying the same price for rent. Wasim Lone, the housing services director for Good Old Lower East Side, said vacancy decontrol is responsible for tens of thousands of vacant units around the East Village and the Lower East Side.
Read more…