“Two percent at the very least would be devastating to the people in this room,” he said.
Denisa Rodrigo, who lives in a rent-stabilized studio in Sunnyside, Queens, said any increase would be “unsustainable.” Ms. Rodrigo, 56, lost her job as a physician assistant when the private doctor she worked for closed her office in 2020, during the worst of the pandemic. She said that she is still looking for a new job.
Ms. Rodrigo’s monthly rent is $1,050, which she has mostly been unable to pay since April 2020. A pandemic rent relief program covered about $9,000 she owed, but she still has to pay about $10,000, she said, and any incremental increase allowed by the board could leave her deeper in debt.
“I have been paying what I could, with my savings, and using up almost everything I have,” he said.
The rent stabilization system, established in 1969, has become a large and important source of affordable housing in one of the most expensive places to live in the country. Median monthly rent is approximately $1,269, compared to $1,700 for unregulated housing.
The more than one million rent-stabilized apartments make up roughly half of the city’s rental housing stock.
Just over 40 percent of those renters are Hispanic or Latino and more than 20 percent are Black, according to city estimates, while the median household income for rent-stabilized renters is about $44,000, more than 33 percent less than the figure for unregulated apartments.
The nine members of the board, all appointed by the mayor, include five representatives of the public, as well as two landlords and tenants. The board’s annual votes represent one of the few ways the mayor can directly address the city’s housing costs, and Mr. Adams has appointed three people since he took office. The other members were appointed by Mr. de Blasio.