De Blasio Seeking Rent Freeze for NYC

08-deblasio.w529.h352.2xMaybe he’s the people’s mayor after all: at a bill-signing ceremony today in Queens, Mayor Bill de Blasio unexpectedly announced that he is “encouraging” the Rent Guidelines Board to impose a citywide rent freeze on stabilized apartments. It would be the first one in New York City’s history.

“I’m encouraging all the members of the Rent Guidelines Board to vote for a freeze. We need a course correction,” de Blasio said. The mayor specifically called for a zero percent hike for one-year lease renewals, and blamed the Bloomberg administration for allowing landlords to raise rents too quickly over the last decade. Last fall, as a mere candidate for City Hall, de Blasio advocated for a rent freeze, but until now he has not made any firm statements about the proposal as mayor.

The Rent Guidelines Board–many of those members were appointed by de Blasio–will meet tonight at Cooper Union to consider a range of rent guideline-proposals that would affect the more than one-million tenants who live in rent-stabilized units. Every year since the Board’s creation, in 1969, its members have voted for increases of at least 2 percent for one-year lease renewals, and 4 percent for two-year leases. If the board votes to break with history, though, and implement a freezes, it would affect one year leases beginning Oct. 1

Follow Phillip Pantuso on Twitter @phillippantuso.

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