Yes, it's that time again, when the Rent Guidelines Board will decide by how much they will raise rents for rent-stabilized apartments in the city. The board held its final meeting at Cooper Union yesterday (they are usually noisy), and the Daily News reports it "has adopted preliminary guidelines of hiking rents 2% to 4.5% for one-year renewals and 4% to 7.5% for two-year renewals that start on or after Oct. 1."

Of course, that doesn't sit well with the tenants. One told NY1, "A year and a half ago I had pneumonia and I was hospitalized due to lack of heat. They do not deserve an increase at all and many many other tenants are going through the same thing." And Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer pointed out that last year's hikes—4.5% for one-year leases, 8.5% for two-year leases—was approved when landlords said energy prices would rise, when in reality they didn't. Stringer said, "So come clean, admit you made a mistake and the reason you freeze the rents is because you rent gauged last year based on a faulty set of assumptions." But landlord Jimmy Silber said, "If people want a rent freeze, let's have a freeze on real estate taxes and water and sewer taxes, plumbing increases and legal increases."

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn supports a rent hike freeze. Of course, these rent hike talks also come as Albany may not deal with pro-tenant rent-regulation legislation, now that State Senator Pedro Espada Jr., who appears to be (sort of) running the show, opposes it. The Times reported yesterday, "Democrats said Mr. Espada’s actions raise questions about whether he received financial support from real estate interests as he contemplated his switch of allegiance to the Republicans. As chairman of the Housing Committee, he would be expected to be a primary beneficiary of contributions from the industry, which is among the most powerful in Albany."