Last night was the annual meeting of the Rent Guidelines Board to decide on rent increases for the city's rent stabilized apartments. Amidst the usual chaos (the crowd yelled "Blah, blah blah!", "Free rent!", "Shame on you" and "Liar" while board members spoke), the board approved moderate hikes: 3% for 1-year leases, 5.75% for 2-year leases.

These hike were less than last year's 4.25% and 7.25% increases, falling into a "middle range," given that tenants wanted no hikes (that proposal failed) and that landlords wanted to raise rents by 5% and 9% (that failed too). Of course, the increases were unsatisfactory to tenants and landlords alike; Rent Guidelines Board chair Marvin Markus "admitted the process was flawed because it doesn't help the poorest tenants or the most cash-strapped landlords."

The NY Times breaks out some of the costs to landlords (one of whom complains that city tax breaks aren't helping him) while the Post mentioned City Comptroller William Thompson's and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn's desire for low increases - Thompson and Quinn are looking at runs for mayor in 2009.