The majority of rent-regulated households, however, do not qualify for these protective programs. Many of these tenants are having their lifestyles and the lifestyles of their family members seriously downgraded due to a high proportion of their income going towards rent. I want to address the plight of these tenants.
The Rent Guidelines Board has, in the past, solely considered landlord expenses as the basis for determining rent increases. The time has come for the board to also consider the tenants’ ability to pay.
Currently, over one-third of all tenant income is devoted to paying rent. This is not sustainable. It is uncontroverted that a significant number of New Yorkers simply cannot afford to pay their rent.
If you have already cut spending to the bone on food, clothing and medical care and still cannot pay the rent, the eventual outcome is homelessness. The evidence of this is everywhere.
In 2014, the board granted increases of 1 percent for one year and 2.75 percent for two years. The fact is that landlord expenses in the past year consisting of taxes, labor and insurance have marginally increased.
At the same time, there has been a significant decrease in the price of heating oil, a major expense item for landlords. On this basis, I am asking the board not to grant an increase for one and two year leases.
Past Rent Guideline Board increases have outpaced both the landlord’s expenses and the tenant’s income and their ability to pay those increases. This is the time to rectify some of the past injustices.