New York City has the highest rents of anywhere in the country, but it also has a feistier, more organized network of community activists. Those people have made it possible for the poor to stay here, and a lot of them will keep doing so ~TONIGHT~, when the Rent Guidelines Board holds a preliminary vote on a rent increase for rent-regulated apartments. It’s not clear what range of increases the board will consider, which may be part of why this meeting is usually packed. Described as a “raucous affair” by past attendees, we hear that landlords are usually booed.
Will this affect you? Possibly, since a lot of artist live-work spaces are rent stabilized—meaning a cap is placed on the maximum rent increase a landlord can impose. Not only will the outcome of this vote affect about 1 million tenants, but it will also be the first major test of whether de Blasio can follow through with his campaign promise to enact a rent freeze on these types of leases. He’s begun by appointing new members of the Rent Guidelines Board– most recently, naming Rachel Godsil, a law professor who’s written extensively on gentrification, as the new chair. Other members are also expected to cast more “tenant-friendly” votes.
Nothing is guaranteed, however, because landlord costs have risen by over 5 percent this year. And a rent freeze would be historic, since, according to the New York Times, the board has never once voted for a freeze or decrease. So rent reform will need all the bodies it can get. The Artist Studio Affordability Project will be there, and so will the Real Rent Reform Campaign.
The rally starts at 5 PM, meeting starts at 6. Here’s the location:
U.S. Customs House
1 Bowling Green
New York, NY 10004
All signage courtesy of F.A.T. Lab’s Occupy the Internet project.