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Last night, the Rent Guidelines Board decided to aloow landlords to raise rents in the city's rent-stabilized apartments. The Mayor Bloomberg-appointed board's vote was 5-4, after rejecting one proposed hike that was too high (6% for one-year leases, 9% for two-year), given the wages of many people in affected apartments have eroded; the RGB is now looking at 2-4.5% increase for one-year leaves and 4-7% for two year leases. Both landlords and tenants in attendance went, to put it lightly, nuts. Landlords argue that the hikes are too low, given rising cost of oil, while tenants think any kind of rent hike is too high - one protestor was eventually arrested after RGB chairman called the police to remove some protestors. One apartment owner explained, "What they need to do is raise the rates of apartments being rented at low costs, which forces us to raise people who are paying over $1,500. Some tenants pay $300 a month, which doesn't cover the cost of the unit." Other landlord associations say these low hikes incent their members to turn buildings into condos. One tenant advocate said he was hoping for an increase of just 2-3%, which seems low to us for landlords to keep up with other expenses.

Another hearing will be held in June, with the final decision to be made on June 21. Newsday has a look at what the rent hikes were in past years, and there are some really interesting discussion in our post yesterday about the rent hikes.

Photo of protesting renters from Newsday