Tenants push Rent Guidelines Board to freeze rates

Hundreds of city tenants petitioned the city Rent Guidelines Board to freeze cost increases at a public hearing Monday evening at Hostos Community College.
Last year, the board allowed for a small increase after having frozen rents on one-year leases two years in a row.
Tenants’ rights groups are demanding that the board not OK a rent increase on behalf of the more than 2 million rent-stabilized tenants in the city. 
The last meeting in late April allowed for a range of potential increases. For current one-year leases, there may be an increase anywhere from 0.75 percent to 2.75 percent. There could be an increase anywhere from 1.75 to 3.75 percent for two-year leases.
Many of the advocates are calling for no rent increase at all. 
Other concerns include gentrification, rezoning and demanding landlords to open their books and show where money is going toward repairs.
Despite historically low rent increases and a couple of freezes in the last few years, many of the tenants say the increases are a burden that they plan to fight.
The Monday meeting was the board's last public hearing before a final vote on June 26.