The city’s rent board voted in favor of modest rent increases for stable apartments Tuesday night in a chaotic meeting that was derailed as tenant advocates and city council members took over to demand lower rents.

In a preliminary vote, the Rent Guidelines Committee approved rent increases of 2% to 5% for one-year leases for stable apartments and 4% to 7% for two-year leases. Separately, the agency approved a rent freeze for stable hotels.

That’s a far cry from the 8% increase in one-year leases and the 16% increase in two-year leases needed to keep landlords’ operating income steady, the board reported last month.

As the name implies, a preliminary vote is not a final vote. However, final rent increases have traditionally tended to fall within the range determined by the preliminary vote.

Last year, for example, the board signed off on a rate hike of 2% to 4% for one-year leases and 4% to 6% for two-year leases. The next month, in a final vote, it approved increases of 3.25% for one-year leases and 5% for two-year leases.

Landlord representatives on the board first presented their rent increase proposals on a stage at the Cooper Union on Tuesday night. While the two landlord members spoke, tenant advocates and others circled the board, chanting “rent rollback” and “shame on you.”

Landlord representatives are proposing increases of 7% to 10% for one-year leases and 11% to 14% for two-year leases. The proposal failed in a 2-7 vote.

Demonstrators fell silent as tenant representatives followed up on their proposals, which ranged from a 1% rent rollback to a 1% increase for one-year leases and 0% to 2% rent increases for two-year leases. This idea was likewise defeated. A centrist proposal by board chairman Nestor Davidson won by a 5-4 vote.

Landlord advocates argue that the proposed increases don’t go far enough.

“With most buildings approaching 100 years old, the city’s rent-stabilized housing stock is on the brink of bankruptcy,” said Michael Tobman, membership and communications director for the Rent Stabilization Association, a landlord group. “RGB’s own numbers don’t lie: Costs have skyrocketed, rental income has fallen.”

Landlords’ net operating income in 2021 fell 9.1% from the previous year, according to a new report from the commission. It was the largest annual drop since the commission began tracking landlord income in 1990.

Jay Martin, executive director of the Community Housing Improvement Initiative, another landlord group, said the approved scope “doesn’t cover the escalating costs of rent-stabilized buildings.”

In a statement after the vote, Mayor Eric Adams noted that the 7 percent increase in the upper limit of the approved two-year lease range “is clearly beyond the reach of renters and I think this year is the suitable.”

“I recognize the growing challenges landlords face in maintaining their buildings and obtaining financing to make repairs; at the same time, we simply cannot leave tenants in a position where they cannot afford their rent,” he said.

Ahead of Tuesday’s vote, Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and Council Housing and Building Committee Chair Pierina Sanchez issued a joint statement urging the committee to oppose “proposals that are counterproductive to New Yorkers who persist in overcoming housing challenges.”

The two pointed out the recent Report It found that half of the city’s households could not afford the true cost of living in the city. Adriene Holder, chief civil counsel at the Legal Aid Society, condemned the outcome of the preliminary vote.

“Any increase in rents right now would be a challenge to an economy already battling a historic affordability crisis, post-pandemic inflation and the looming recession expected later this year,” she said in a statement. Tenants with devastating consequences.”

A final board vote is scheduled for June 21. The approved changes will affect the leases of approximately 900,000 rent-stabilized apartments in the city that took effect on or after Oct. 1.

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