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Approved rent increases on rent-stabilized apartments disappoints Westchester's tenants, landlords alike

Tenant's advocacy groups say an increase of any kind makes a difference for people already spending a big chunk of their paychecks on rent.

Emily Young

Jul 1, 2024, 11:00 PM

Updated 15 days ago

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The Westchester Rent Guidelines Board voted last week to increase the rent on rent stabilized apartments by 2.5% for a one year lease, and 3.5% for two year leases.
"The Rent Guidelines Board is the only avenue we have to get fair increases to maintain our buildings, and I don't think we've had a fair rent increase in 10 years," said president of the Building and Realty Institute, and White Plains property owner, Lisa DeRosa.
She says inflation alone has gone up 3%, her insurance went up more than 20% in just one year and this percentage increase just isn't enough
"My insurance went from $69,000 to $94,000 in a year," she said. "And these are real costs, this isn't me saying 'Oh, I don't like the tile in the lobby let me redecorate,' these are costs that I can't control."
She says this increase will have many unintended consequences.
"Maybe you'll do a repair on an elevator instead of replacing it when it's do or doing a major overhaul, and maybe as a result it breaks down more often," she said of potential cost-saving measures.
But on the other hand, tenant's advocacy groups say an increase of any kind makes a difference for people already spending a big chunk of their paychecks on rent.
"Any increase in this housing market is too much. Like the saying goes, 'the rent is too damn high!' People are spending 40-50-60% of their income for rent," explained Dennis Henratty, with Mount Vernon United Tenants. He says this percentage increase is going to cause a lot of pain and suffering.
"My office deals with people facing eviction, I know were going to see a lot more facing eviction with these increases, were going to be overwhelmed with people facing eviction," he said.
Should the board certify these results come September, the increase will affect rent stabilized leases that begin Oct. 1, 2024 through Sept. 30, 2025.


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