City Council member Ben Kallos has been trying to fight back since 2016, when he introduced legislation that would cap facade repair work at 90 days with the possibility to extend it for another 90, and require scaffolding to be removed if no work has taken place for seven days. Kallos also introduced legislation this year that would require scaffolding that’s been up for more than a year to be inspected at least once every six months by the DOB, at the building owner’s expense.
The preliminary vote to raise rents for one-year leases between 0 and 2 percent passed 5-4, with the members who represent tenants' and owners' interests all voting against it, the Board's executive director, Andrew McLaughlin, told DNAinfo.
Over the next several weeks, the nine-member board will also consider raising rents on two-year leases between 0.5 to 3.5 percent — following last year's first-ever freeze for rent-stabilized apartments.
The board based its proposal on an RGB study that showed that the price of operating for rent-stabilized apartments decreased 1.2 percent this year, mostly due to the fact that fuel costs decreased 41.2 percent. Another study found that the city's unemployment rate fell in 2015 by 1.5 percent.
The changes would take effect on all lease renewals after Oct. 1, 2016.
Board member Sheila Garcia, who represents tenant's interest, proposed a rent decrease instead of a freeze, which is why she voted against it.
"The data this year merits a [rent] rollback," said Garcia, referring to lowered fuel costs. "I didn't think [the rent freeze proposal] was radical enough. The board has over-compensated landlords over the years."
"We see that we are evicting less people but more people are homeless because they can't afford to live in NYC."
Upper East Side council member Ben Kallos joined advocates calling to lower rent for rent-stabilized apartments.