New York City, NY

Rent Guidelines Board to add 2 remote public hearings

Mike Romano

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(BROOKLYN, N.Y.) After originally announcing that there would only be two in-person public hearings in the Bronx and Queens, the NYC Rent Guidelines Board has added two remote public hearings for those who wish to testify but are unable to make it to the in-person meetings.

Earlier this month, the board voted to increase rents for the city’s approximately 1 million stabilized apartments, proposing 2% to 4% increases for one-year leases and 4% to 6% increases for two-year leases. The proposed hikes would affect leases in place from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, 2023, if approved.

The additional meetings were implemented after multiple NYC Council members wrote a letter to the board asking for in-person meetings in Brooklyn and Manhattan, as well as a remote hearing, to allow residents of other boroughs easier access to the hearings.

The board cited the city's recent shift into high alert status for COVID-19 for its reason to reject the two in-person hearings, but instead opted to add the two remote public hearings.

The comment section on the board's website is predominantly against the proposed rent hikes, with one commenter, Kayley Li, saying, "New York is known as a renters city and it has continued to be a battle ground between renters and building owners. As we begin to face an impending recession, job losses and potentially a new wave of unemployment, it will become extremely challenging for us to afford to pay for a roof over our heads."

Others questioned where renters are supposed to get an influx of cash amid a pandemic.

"Freeze rents," said Morgan K. "NYC is still in a pandemic, renters are already struggling and inflation is already hitting lower-income households the most."

The two additional remote public hearings do not have a set date and time yet, but the schedule can be found here. The in-person meetings will take place June 13 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Jamaica Performing Arts Center (Queens) and June 15 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Main Theater at Hostos Community College (Bronx).

Registration for public testimony is required and can be done here.

Residents unable to attend the in-person or virtual meetings can still submit their feedback through video, audio or written testimony on the board's website. Residents can also comment on the proposed rent increases here. Comments can also be emailed to board@nycrgb.org or mailed to the RGB office at 1 Centre Street, Suite 2210, New York, N.Y. 10007.

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