Today was the first hearing of the Rent Guidelines Board (RGB), which decides how much rents increase every year in NYC. The Mayor appoints all 9 members of the board, and during his campaign Mayor de Blasio supported a rent freeze. Coalition leaders Iva, Redoneva, Paulette, Marquetta, Jean, Gordon, and Lloyd joined more than two hundred tenants this morning before the RGB hearing to remind the mayor of his promise. Below is a statement presented at the rally by Jean Folkes, one of our Coalition tenant leaders and Steering Committee member:
“As Public Advocate, Mayor De Blasio pushed for progress for affordable housing. He compiled the Worst Landlords List, protecting tenants without heat, providing legal access to tenants in housing court, standing up for working families in Flatbush Gardens, untangling the Housing Authority’s bureaucracy.
He campaigned to “face down the homeless crisis” and “protect renters, including seniors and renters having disabilities.”
Many members of the Flatbush Tenant Coalition are experiencing these problems in addition to age and color discrimination. Rents have been increasing every year and income has not kept pace. Landlords are only thinking of the “almighty dollar” and evictions are the order of the day. The system used by the RGB needs revamping, when you look at only one side of the equation your answer will be flawed. Why don’t the RGB ask tenants to show them their books so they can compare. If that were to happen tenants would be eligible for rent abatements due to the high increases granted landlords over the years.
When these so-called “poor, destitute and suffering” landlords do decide to repair a building the aim is to get the building out of rent stabilization into the free markets and the end result is more evictions and homelessness. NYC needs a RGB that will be considerate to both landlords and tenants.
Our rally today is directed at the RGB and telling them that without a rent freeze NYC is heading to become the permanent #1 city in HOMELESSNESS. We have been told that rents are not too high, it’s salary that’s too low. Give me a break, if these landlords were not making money they would find another “trade”. Let’s stop picking on the poor and middle income tenants, we are not asking for special favors. We are only asking for JUST TREATMENT. In this RICH city homelessness should never be an option.”