De Blasio Appoints Three New Members to Rent Board
As the annual fight on increases nears, Mayor de Blasio has appointed three new members to the Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) that sets rents for about one million rent-stabilized apartments in the city, completing the process of filling all nine seats with his selections.
This year the decisions of the RGB will also occur against the backdrop of an even bigger fight in Albany over the renewal of state rent laws and on the heels of a RGB staff report showing that net operating income for rent-stabilized properties rose in 2013 for the ninth consecutive year, growing by 3.4 percent. The board staff will issue other reports, including one on affordability, to inform the board before its vote.
Last year, Mayor de Blasio called for a temporary rent freeze, but two of his appointees went with the majority and voted instead for historically low increases of 1 percent for one-year leases and 2.75 percent for leases of two years.
The board, which has a preliminary vote on new rent guidelines on April 29 and a final vote at the end of June, consists of two tenant representatives, two landlord representatives, and five members of the public with experience in housing, finance, or economics. On Thursday, the mayor replaced three holdovers from the administration of Mayor Bloomberg with two public members—Helen Schaub and K. Sabeel Rahman—and an owner representative, Scott Walsh.
Ms. Schaub is New York State director of policy and legislation at 1199 S.E.I.U. United Healthcare Workers East, representing 300,000 registered nurses, social workers, and other health care workers in the state. Mr. Rahman teaches law at Brooklyn Law School and has advised the city and a wide variety of government and nongovernment organizations on economic and financial regulatory policy. And Mr. Walsh is an architect and vice president for development at Forest City Ratner Companies, a major builder that has promised to build thousands of affordable apartments at its Pacific Park project in Brooklyn.