Rent Stabilization On Deathwatch

by AMANDA MELILLO · May 6, 2008

    Rent StabilizationLife as we know it is over. It's all over the news. Rent stabilization is on deathwatch. OK, maybe that's a little hysterical, since last night the Rent Guidelines Board that regulates the one million rent-stabilized apartments in the city recommended higher increases than In previous years. While last year they approved a 3 percent increase on one-year leases, this year they approved 3.5 to 7 percent, as well as a 5.5 to 9.5 increase on two-year leases against last year's 5.75 percent. It sounds small theoretically, and if I weren't too lazy/mentally impaired before coffee to do the math I would tell you how this would tighten the wallets of rent-stabilized tenants. But I think we can agree all around that rent hikes are a bitch.

    So while the board pissed off a.) rent-stabilized tenants, who say the proposed increases are too much, and b.) landlords of rent-stabilized buildings who want to be like landlords everywhere else and bleed us for all we're worth. I do have to wonder if this is the beginning of the end of rent-stabilization in practice, if not in name. And since rents are (finally) beginning to level off given the signs of troubled economic times ahead, it's also hard to guess what rent increases will look like until Wall Street starts picking up again. All I know is, I could only have dreamed of a rent-stabilized apartment while I was on the search for a place to call home in the city. Actually if I were wishing for things, it would have been a broker that actually called me back and did a little more for their 15 percent fee than open apartment doors to let me have a 5-second look inside.