Sales Market

It's cheap(ish) to be a landlord right now—and there might be a rent freeze as a result

By Virginia K. Smith  | April 20, 2015 - 2:30PM

When the Rent Guidelines Board voted on a one-percent allowable rent increase for stabilized apartments last year, it was the lowest such ratio in 45 years. Still, what Mayor Bill de Blasio really wanted was a full-on rent freeze, and this year, it might actually happen, the New York Post reports.

The reason?  According to the RGB's Price Index of Operating Costs, the cost of being a landlord increased just 0.5 percent this year (one of the lowest-ever increases in the past several decades), thanks in large part to a 21 percent dip in fuel costs, as WNYC points out. In other words, it's relatively cheap to be a landlord right now,  which makes it harder to argue that landlords really need to up their tenants' rents in order to turn a reasonable profit. “The data we have right now points to either a rent rollback or a rent freeze,” a tenant representative on the guidelines board told the Post

Naturally, landlords beg to disagree. They aren't especially thrilled with this development, and point out that the drop in fuel costs is just a temporary boon resulting from low oil prices. A freeze could also have potential fallout for market-rate tenants, as landlords may well raise prices on market-rate units to subsidize their stabilized units. For now, it means that New York's renters (and landlords) should keep a close eye on the Rent Guidelines Board's upcoming vote in June, and also, enjoy those low fuel costs while you can.


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