Denisa Rodrigo, who lives in a rent-stabilized studio apartment in Sunnyside, Queens, said any increase would be “unsustainable”. Ms Rodrigo, 56, lost her job as a medical assistant when the private doctor she worked for closed his office in 2020, amid the worst of the pandemic. She says she is still looking for a new job.
Ms. Rodrigo’s monthly rent is $1,050, which she has been largely unable to pay since April 2020. A pandemic rent reduction program covered about $9,000 she owed, but she still has about $10,000 to repay, she said, and any incremental increase allowed by the board could leave her further in debt.
“I’ve paid what I could, from my savings, and almost everything I’ve used up,” she said.
She said she was afraid she would be evicted and wants the board to vote for a rent reduction instead.
The rent stabilization system, established in 1969, has become a huge and important source of affordable housing in one of the most expensive places to live in the country. The average monthly rent is about $1,269, compared to $1,700 in unregulated homes.
The more than a million rent-stabilized apartments make up about half of the city’s rental supply.
Just over 40 percent of those renters are Hispanic or Latino and more than 20 percent are black, according to city estimates, while the median household income of rent-stabilized renters is around $44,000, more than 33 percent lower than the figure in non-residents. regulated apartments.
The nine members of the board, all of whom are appointed by the mayor, include five representatives from the public, as well as two for owners and tenants. The annual votes of the board of directors are one of the few ways the mayor can directly address the city’s housing costs, and Mr. Adams has appointed three appointees since taking office. The other members are appointed by Mr de Blasio.