Politicians Rally for Rent Guidelines Board Reform


Some local politicians, including State Senator Daniel Squadron, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, and City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, held a rally yesterday morning calling for the passage of state legislation to reform the Rent Guidelines Board, which will hold its annual vote on raising rents on rent-stabilized apartments starting this week. From the press release: “The legislation (S741A / A6394B), sponsored by Senator Squadron and Assemblymember Kavanagh, would require City Council confirmation of the Mayor’s appointees to the RGB, bringing necessary checks and balances to the system and making the appointment process more democratic. The bill would also make more New Yorkers eligible to serve as public members and ensure that diversified views are represented on the RGB by including new professions among those qualified for appointment. Qualification for appointment would include experience in public service, philanthropy, social services, urban planning, architecture, social sciences, non-profit, finance, economics, or housing; currently, only experience in finance, economics, or housing qualifies someone for appointment.” Here’s part of Squadron’s statement at the rally: “By requiring Council approval of appointments to the RGB and broadening qualification for membership, we can create necessary accountability, ensure a variety of voices are represented on the board, and better protect the affordability that has made New York the vibrant and diverse city it is today.”

25 Comment

  • Too bad that SCOTUS is about to toss rent control laws.

  • these people are arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. the whole system is completely wrong-headed and should be abandoned.

  • these people are arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. the whole system is completely wrong-headed and should be abandoned.

  • it’s hard to believe that people who have rent stabilized or controlled apartments have the nerve to complain about the small increases they get each year (or two).

  • Silver-spoon Squadron, whose father got rich representing slime like Rupert Murdoch and Wedtech, is now following the typical path of pandering to the very people who in the end will be most hurt by his misguided policies.

    Affordable housing is under attack in this city – not because the rents are too high – but because the profitability of operating it is so thin that maintenance and upkeep are being sacrificed. And LL are more and more forced to participate in programs that bring in problem tenants that make life miserable for all.

    The RE bubble of the last few years masked the ever thinner operating margins that affordable housing is operating under. Expect to see more tenants to go without basic services and repairs over the next few years, more so if Squadron and his ilk succeed in their misguided efforts.

  • It’s hard to imagine how the rent control and stabilization laws in NYC could be any stronger. Perhaps tenants could be given the right to stay in their apartments after death. I know folks who would gladly cement up the front door and be entombed for eternity in their rent control digs -so to speak.

  • I don’t think this is about strengthening rent regulations so much as it is about diversifying the RGB to bring in people other than the current group of (obviously) anti-rent-regulation landlords, developers, and financiers, so that they aren’t permanently under attack from the very body supposed to enforce them. Kind of like having Monsanto on the board of the FDA.

    • it’s about weakening the rent guidelines board by filling it with people who don’t belong there.

      “Qualification for appointment would include experience in public service, philanthropy, social services, urban planning, architecture, social sciences, non-profit…”

      non-profit? philanthropy? as a rs landlord that pisses me off. we’re in a different kind of business.

      • More like qualifications for appointment would allow for actual people who need rent stabilization to serve on the board. Its current configuration is the fox guarding the henhouse.

    • There are no landlords on the RGB — you should visit the annual circus. The board members are mostly lawyers — some are landlord lawyers, some are tenant lawyers, and some are officially neutral. In any event, the vote is pre-ordained — almost always 5-4 on the third proposal, with both landlord and tenant representatives voting no in a choreographed kabuki theater ritual.

      Seriously folks — the final vote is an incredible demonstration of street theater — you should come out and watch!

      • I have attended several of these annual circuses – and when I said LLs I meant, of course, their representatives, as in the lawyers. But you are correct – it is an elaborate, and predictable, ritual. Maybe shaking up the board composition would end some of that.

  • The RGB is, in fact, a kangaroo organization, but making it more democratic won’t solve this problem. The real problem is that they finance the tenants less-than cost growth rent increases by assuming that owners get the vacancy bonus every 6 years or so.

    On average this is true, but it masks significant individual variation in apartment turnover. Renters of 2+brs (which turn over very slowly) get an insane deal, and unlucky small-time landlords without much turnover can, in fact go bankrupt waiting for their tenants to leave — they stop maintaining the buildings.

    A better solution is Washington DC’s formula of CPI + 2% — no theatrics, the return is sufficient to maintain the buildings; most apartments are at market value, and the rent control serves mostly to cushion the periodic spikes in rents, not to give a special deal to some tenants.
    Join the fight for Housing Equality — facebook.com/nycrenters

    • this would result in WWIII in NYC.
      The way the Greeks are about their incredibly stupid Labor laws, New Yorkers are about their incredibly stupid rent laws. There would be burning and rioting on the streets for weeks.

  • I have no problem getting rid of the board that allowed rent increases during the worst of the current depression. Shame on Bloomberg and his pandering back room real estate cronies.

  • I have no problem getting rid of the board that allowed rent increases during the worst of the current depression. Shame on Bloomberg and his pandering back room real estate cronies.

  • are rent regulated tenants going to be happy with their annual increases with a different board? This really is re-arranging the deck chairs. Lifetime renters have no idea how expensive it is to run and maintain a building in NYC. They think the rent increases are giveaways to the landlord. Saying that the board is hostile to renters because they approve rent increases is ludicrous.

  • are rent regulated tenants going to be happy with their annual increases with a different board? This really is re-arranging the deck chairs. Lifetime renters have no idea how expensive it is to run and maintain a building in NYC. They think the rent increases are giveaways to the landlord. Saying that the board is hostile to renters because they approve rent increases is ludicrous.

  • How would City council approval change anything? have they ever turned down a mayor appointee? The Mayor appoints and they do what he asks or else.

  • It’s pure showboating and posturing.
    Photo op and free publicity.