It's the countdown to the final meeting determining increases for rent stabilized apartments coming next week. City Comptroller William Thompson issued a letter asking the Rent Guidelines Board to either raise stabilized rents by the minimum or not to raise them at all, given last week's announced homeowner tax rebates and property tax cuts. Thompson's letter (here's a PDF) notes that the city has not kept up stock for low- and moderate-income housing and that one third of city residents devote at least half their income to rent.
A spokesperson for the mayor's office told the Daily News, "The Rent Guidelines Board was created as an independent, nonpartisan agency. We do not interfere in the business of the board," while the president of the Rent Stabilization Associations Joseph Strasberg told the Post, "It is unrealistic to believe that there aren't owners out there who need the extra cash infusion to maintain their buildings."
The final meeting to decide rent increases will be next Tuesday, June 26. There have been meetings the past couple months discussing the issue. NY magazine suggested that Thompson would be a housing activist's darling, but we suspect that he's also trying to put a pre-2009 mayoral election stamp on being aggressive about affordable housing for New Yorkers - City Council Speaker Quinn was trumpeting that renter's rebate, after all.