The Rent Guidelines Board approved 5-4 to raise rent-stabilized rents by the biggest increases since 2003 last night. And the hundreds of tenants on hand were going so wild, with their noisemakers and yelling, the RGB Chairman Marvin Markus had to recess the hearing for hours. Landlords and tenants disagreed about the chaotic scene (a board member called tenants efforts to shut down the meeting "undemocratic" while a tenants' protest organizer told the Times, "This meeting is a sham of the democratic process."), they did agree on one thing - the increases sucked. The tenants were upset, naturally, that the increases were so high - 4.25% for one year leases; 7.25% for two year leases - while landlords wished they were even higher to offset their increasing expenses. The increases will go into affect this fall.

The NY Times has a graphic of the rent increases and where most rent-stabilized apartments are. The tenants are also protesting for "home rule" - as in letting the City Council regulate rents, versus the board. (Tenants rights' group Metropolitan Council on Housing explains the situation more.)

Photograph from our May visit to a RGB meeting