This article is adapted from our Rent Update newsletter sent May 10, 2022. You can sign up here to get it by email.

We now know more about how the Rent Guidelines Board will likely vote on rent levels for the city’s one million rent regulated apartments this year.

Here’s a quick recap — and information about how to testify to the board before their final vote in June.

Last Thursday night, the RGB took its preliminary vote on how they’ll set regulated rent hikes for the next round of one- and two-year leases. The board approved the following ranges to increase rent:

  • One-year regulated leases: 2 to 4%
  • Two-year regulated leases: 4 to 6%

It was to some degree a compromise vote, as THE CITY previously reported

On one side, some board members sympathetic to landlords voted no because they felt those levels are too low to keep up with increasing costs and a lack of income.

On the other side, tenant members of the board said raising rent at all was inconceivable, given how many city renters are struggling right now.

But the measure eked by with a 5-to-4 approval, with the board’s two tenant members and two owner members all voting against it.

Mayor Eric Adams said he will not interfere with the vote, insisting earlier this week that the board is independent from his influence. However, all nine members of the board, and the chair, are appointed by the mayor.

What will the final rent hike look like? And when will we know?

The board must set rent levels by July 1, which means their final vote — the one that officially sets the next increase — will take place in June.

Their decision will affect leases that begin between October 1, 2022 and September 30, 2023.

The board’s history indicates that the final vote will likely be at or above the rent level laid out in the preliminary vote.

According to RGB records, the final rent hike has been within the range of the preliminary vote since 2004. The board has lowered the final percentage only three times in the past three decades.

Between now and that final vote, the board will hold two hearings to take testimony from the public on how it should set guidelines:

  • Monday, June 13 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
    Jamaica Performing Arts Center
    153-10 Jamaica Ave., Queens
  • Wednesday, June 15 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
    Hostos Community College
    450 Grand Concourse, The Bronx

Both hearings will be streamed on YouTube, but only those who attend in person can participate or speak.

That policy doesn’t sit well with Sheila Garcia, a tenant member on the Rent Guidelines Board, who told her fellow members at Thursday’s vote that they should make remote testimony possible.

“I also want to push the board to remember that some of us are still having to quarantine, that some of us are still struggling, and to have a Zoom option for those who can’t join us in person,” she said.

The board does take testimony ahead of time, by email, recorded video or telephone at (929) 256-5472. For instructions on how to submit a video, visit the RGB’s website.

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