The maximum amount that landlords can increase the rent on rent-stabilized apartments almost doubled this week, after The Rent Guidelines Board voted to raise it at a meeting at Cooper Union on Monday. Landlords will be able to raise rents 3.75 percent for one-year leases and 7.25 percent for two-year leases, up from 2.25 percent and 4.5 percent last year—meaning that the rent on a $1700-a-month unit, renewed for a year, could jump $63 a month instead of $38, a difference to the renter of $300 a year.
In 2005, 43 percent of apartments in Brooklyn were rent-regulated, according to the board. But the number of rent-controlled apartments decreased citywide at a rate of 1.6 percent a year between 2005 and 2008, according to a more recent housing survey.
The vote comes after lawmakers in Albany struck a deal, after much bickering, to extend the rent regulations that were about to expire, and to raise the threshold for when apartments can qualify for deregulation, from $2000 a month to $2500. The counterproductive measure passed by the Rent Guidelines Board—which, as the Voice reports, is appointed by the mayor without any oversight or outside review—makes it possible for a $2000/month apartment, now rent-controlled, to qualify for deregulation within seven years. There are no costly repairs for the landlord, no forced vacancies by neglecting the building to the point that tenants have to leave—just the tick of the clock.
So goes the cycle. One day in the not-so-distant future, you might be standing in a condo along an up-and-coming commercial strip in Marine Park, shaking your fist at Manhattan through your floor-to-ceiling windows, cursing those damn yuppies for pricing you out of hipper-than-hip Midwood.