Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Rent Guidelines Board Still In The Hands Of The Landlords

Every year there is a demand by renters to put a freeze on rent hikes and each time it is denied. Of course the landlords demand exorbitant hikes that would never see the light of day, so in the end the Rent Guidelines Board makes a "compromise" and raises the rates for renters across the city. Last year it was 3% for a one year lease and 5.75% for a two year and now the Board has tentatively passed a range for an eventual increase due out next month. This time around landlords wanted 9% and 14% increases respectively. Though that was voted down, the range (3.5-7% and 5.5 to 9.5%) is still ridiculously large and is slowly but surely kicking New Yorkers out of their city.

From The NY Times:

The proposed rent increases come as advocates for moderate and low-income housing and some elected officials have grown concerned about the affordability of the city’s rental market. Representative Anthony D. Weiner of Queens and Brooklyn released a study last month that found that roughly 500,000 New Yorkers were spending 50 percent or more of their income on housing.

Key factors in the range established by the board on Monday night are recent trends in housing affordability, tenant income and owner costs highlighted in three reports issued by the board’s staff last month. One of the reports, called the Price Index of Operating Costs, found that operating costs for rent-stabilized buildings increased 7.8 percent in the last year, in large part because of a rise in fuel costs and utility payments. The previous year, owners’ costs had risen by 5.1 percent. But another report showed that landlords of rent-stabilized units saw their net operating income — the earnings that remain after operating and maintenance expenses are paid — increase by 8.8 percent. That report was based on 2006 data.

If their incomes goes up while the costs of maintaining the buildings are at a similar rate, then there seems to be something fishy going on. Landlords in New York are notorious for cutting costs and skimping on the needs of their tenants. Even here in my own non-subsidized building, my heat mysteriously went out when we had that terrible cold snap in February of last year and when you call for something to get fixed....well, you get my point. What is important to note is that for all the whining and complaining that these poor, poor landlords do, they still make 37 cents on the dollar for their property. That isn't just a good deal, it should be classified as robbery.