RGB Approves Six-Month Rent Freeze with 1.5% Hike for One-Year Leases

On June 23, the Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) voted 5-4 to freeze stabilized rents for the first six months of one-year leases beginning on or after Oct. 1, 2021, then raise them 1.5 percent for the next six months. The RGB also voted to raise rents on two-year leases by 2.5 percent. The new rates take effect for leases commencing between Oct. 1, 2021, and Sept. 30, 2022.

The Backdrop: This vote followed a seven-year period, which began with the start of the de Blasio administration, of largely favorable rulings for tenants. During this time, rents have been frozen three times while there were slight increases in the other four years.

The final vote was held virtually for the second year in a row. The RGB’s owner representatives proposed a 2.75 percent hike on one-year leases to cover the rising costs of maintenance, insurance, and property taxes. And tenant groups wanted to freeze rates.

Mayor de Blasio appointed all nine members of the Rent Guidelines Board. And the next mayor will have the same appointing power.

One Level Deeper: The vote came during a precarious time for owners and renters. The Biden administration signaled on Wednesday that the federal government would extend the moratorium on evictions imposed during the pandemic, which were supposed to expire on June 30. The CDC eviction moratorium would now lapse in July, while a moratorium put in place by New York State ends in August.

This extension will mark the fourth time the deadline for lifting the ban has been extended. The CDC's order first went into effect last September and initially was set to expire at the end of 2020. But then, in December, the protection was extended until the end of January. As one of his first acts in office, President Biden called on the CDC to extend the ban until March 31. That deadline then was pushed until the end of June.