It looks increasingly likely that the city's Rent Guidelines Board will freeze rent on stabilized apartments for the first time since setting allowable rate increases in 1969. TheWall Street Journal reports that landlord operating costs have languished over the past year, and the change in stabilized rents will reflect a figure that will keep the operating income of building owners stable, even if that means a decrease in rent. Some Rent Guidelines Board staff are forecasting a range of a 2 percent decrease to a .75 percent increase in rents for one-year leases and a 1 percent decrease to a 1.7 percent increase in rents for two-year leases.
The potential rent freeze is due in a big way to a large decrease in fuel costs, so don't think this is something that will stick around for good. Despite being a campaigning point of Mayor de Blasio, the executive vice president of the board, Jack Freund, thinks that a long-term rent freeze on stabilized apartments could, as the Journal puts it, "undermine the financial stability of many regulated buildings at a time when Mr. de Blasio wants to build and preserve 200,000 units of lower-cost housing." The Rent Guidelines Board will set a preliminary range for rent changes in a meeting on Wednesday night, and will decide on the final numbers in June.