NEW YORK – Last week state Senator Daniel Squadron, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Tenants & Neighbors, the Real Rent Reform coalition, elected officials and tenants from around the city rallied to urge passage of state legislation to reform the Rent Guidelines Board (RGB), ahead of the RGB’s annual vote to adjust rents this spring.
The legislation (S741A / A6394B), sponsored by Squadron and Assembly members, would require City Council confirmation of the mayor’s appointees to the RGB, bringing necessary checks and balances to the system and making the appointment process more democratic.
The bill would also make more New Yorkers eligible to serve as public members and ensure that diversified views are represented on the RGB by including new professions among those qualified for appointment. Qualification for appointment would include experience in public service, philanthropy, social services, urban planning, architecture, social sciences, finance, economics or housing. Currently, only experience in finance, economics or housing qualifies someone for appointment.
The New York City Rent Guidelines Board establishes rent adjustments for the approximately one million units subject to the Rent Stabilization Law in the city. It is scheduled to meet on Thursday and throughout the following weeks to hear testimony and vote on this year’s adjustment.
“The RGB’s decisions dramatically impact the lives of millions of New Yorkers and the very future of our city. Yet it lacks the checks and balances that should go hand-in-hand with such serious responsibility,” said Squadron.
“By requiring Council approval of appointments to the RGB and broadening qualification for membership, we can create necessary accountability, ensure a variety of voices are represented on the board, and better protect the affordability that has made New York the vibrant and diverse city it is today.”