Rent increases approved by the Rent Guidelines Board violate state law by overcharging renters, tenant groups say.
The Legal Aid Society and Legal Services of New York filed a lawsuit yesterday in response to a vote by the Rent Guidelines Board in June to add a supplemental rent hike for tenants who have lived in a rent-stabilized apartment for more than six years and who pay $1,000 or less a month in rent. The suit alleges that the supplemental monthly increases of $45 for one-year renewals and $85 for two-year renewals allow landlords to raise rents on some tenants above the 4.5% and 8.5% maximum monthly increases the board authorized for this year.
At a press conference at City Hall yesterday to announce the lawsuit, the speaker of the City Council, Christine Quinn, said that this year's rent guidelines were overly burdensome on tenants.
"Rent-stabilized tenants are under attack from all sides, and this unprecedented increase on longtime, low-income residents could very well drive some residents out of their homes," Ms. Quinn said in a statement. "This rent hike proves once and for all that the RGB is completely out of touch and needs to be reformed."
A spokesman for the Rent Stabilization Association, which represents landlords, Frank Ricci, said the tenant groups were entitled to take legal action and that his organization was reviewing the lawsuit.
Mr. Ricci called elected officials and tenant groups "hypocritical," however, for protesting pending lawsuits by landlords filed last month against the Tenant Protection Act, which increases protections for tenants who are harassed by their landlords.