Legal Aid Society calls for freeze on rent stabilization adjustments ahead of preliminary vote by the Rent Guidelines Board

The New York City Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) is holding a preliminary vote on proposed lease adjustments for rent-stabilized apartments, lofts and hotels.

The preliminary vote, held at 7pm on May 5, will see the board vote on a number of issues including rent stabilization and also potential changes to one and two-year lease guidelines among other topics. 

The Legal Aid Society – an advocacy group that works to ensure that New Yorkers are not denied their right to equal justice because of poverty – issued several statements ahead of the preliminary vote calling for an outright freeze on all adjustments in order to maintain housing for tenants struggling to pay their rent.

“Tenants across New York City are still reeling financially from the pandemic, and increasing rents on some of our most vulnerable neighbors, the overwhelming majority of whom are from Black and Latinx communities, is not only immoral but simply flawed policy,” said Adriene Holder, Attorney-In-Charge of the Civil Practice at The Legal Aid Society on May 2. “Ahead of this week’s preliminary vote, we call for an outright freeze. Keeping tenants safely housed, and our finite stock of rent-stabilized apartments preserved must remain a top priority for Board members.” 

In another statement issued Thursday ahead of the preliminary vote, Holder released another statement, again emphasizing how integral the Legal Aid Society believes a freeze on all rent increases is, especially as the city continues to struggle with the pandemic.

“Over one million people reside in a rent-stabilized dwelling – including many of our clients who are low-income and predominantly from Black and Latinx communities – and any increase that would siphon away money for groceries, medical care or other essentials to pad landlords’ pockets is both unconscionable and immoral,” said Holder. “These are some of our most vulnerable neighbors, and the Rent Guidelines Board must prioritize their safety to ensure that they remain housed. Ahead of tonight’s preliminary vote, we call for an outright freeze. The Board must avoid pushing our clients – seniors, the disabled, working class families – further into poverty, especially as this community continues to recover financially from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In response to the growing concern ahead of the preliminary vote, Mayor Eric Adams spoke to the need to find a balance between providing housing for those struggling to make ends meet, but also ensuring that landlords and property owners would be financially secure as well.

“We must balance this, because this is sometimes lost in the conversation,” Adams said on April 21. “We don’t want to aggravate the eviction process, but we also got to look at small property owners. If you invested all your money into a 10 unit house and you cannot pay the bills, you can lose that. So I think the rent guidelines board must look at this and be fair in how they find the right way to make sure those small property owners are protected and we don’t lose our tenants from their living arrangements.”

To watch the preliminary vote tonight at 7 p.m. EST, visit the NYC RGB website.

Last updated 5/5/2022 11:39 am

Legal Aid Society calls for freeze on rent stabilization adjustments ahead of preliminary vote by the Rent Guidelines Board