Each year, the NYC Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) establishes the lease guidelines for rent stabilized apartments, lofts and hotels. The RGB typically votes on the guidelines each June (Visit Meetings page for exact dates). Those guidelines then apply to leases with effective dates between October 1 of that year and September 30 of the following year. The Rent Stabilization Law (RSL) sets forth the factors that must be considered by the Board prior to the adoption of rent guidelines. These include:
Members of the public are invited to attend meetings and hearings held by the RGB. Those wishing to do so may communicate their views to the RGB via two methods:
The following is a summary of the annual procedures by which the RGB determines lease renewal guidelines for rent stabilized apartments and hotels:
The Board typically holds eight to ten meetings per year to discuss its research agenda, review staff reports and to hear testimony from invited guests including public officials, housing experts and industry and tenant representatives. In accordance with the Open Meetings Law every meeting of the Board must be open to the public, except when circumstances warrant executive sessions. While the public may attend any public meetings, they are not allowed to address the Board unless invited.
Public notice of any meeting scheduled at least one week in advance must be provided to the press and conspicuously posted in a public location at least 72 hours before the meeting. Notice of meetings scheduled less than one week in advance must be given, to the extent practicable, to the press, and publicly posted at a reasonable time before the meeting. The schedule of Board meetings is usually discussed and resolved in the early spring and is published in the City Record. (Visit Meetings page for dates.)
The Rent Stabilization Law and City Charter mandates at least one annual hearing prior to the adoption of rent guidelines. Notice of the hearings is provided in the City Record for eight days and at least once in a newspaper of general circulation at least eight days before the hearing. The hearings are usually held in mid-June just prior to the Board's July 1st deadline for promulgating new guidelines. (Visit Meetings page for dates.)
Any person who wishes to testify has a legal right to do so, and the Board has traditionally allowed two minutes for each speaker, alternating between owner and tenant representatives. Speakers have also been permitted to register in advance of the hearing and pre-registered speakers are given priority in the order of speakers. The hearings usually begin with testimony from public officials invited by the Board. Details on how to speak at the hearing can be found in the Public Notice, which will be released a few weeks prior to the hearing.
Two meetings are held each year for a vote on rent adjustments: the meeting to adopt proposed guidelines, and the meeting to adopt the final guidelines. (Visit Meetings page for dates.) At voting meetings, the public may attend and listen to proceedings, but may not address the Board. While the Chair and the Board establish the order of business, a typical voting meeting will proceed as follows:
The meetings/hearings schedule for the year is usually determined by the middle of February. However, meetings are subject to change, following the procedures described above. Members of the public may obtain the schedule of meetings/hearings by:
Usually about one week after the final vote, the Board's orders and related Explanatory Statements are filed with the City Clerk and published in the City Record. The Rent Stabilization Law directs that the filing of the Board's orders and its findings--i.e., the Explanatory Statements--must be completed not later than July 1st of each year.
Once the language of the orders is reviewed and approved by Corporation Counsel, the orders and explanatory statements should be published in the City Record as soon as is practicable. The final orders and Explanatory Statements should be forwarded to City Council for its information and published at least 30 days (by August 31st) before the first effective date of the orders (October 1st).
The guidelines themselves go into effect for leases being renewed and vacancies occurring on or after October 1st of the same year, and on or before September 30th of the following year. Most hotel/SRO tenants do not have leases and pay the new rent immediately upon the effective date of the hotel guidelines--which is also October 1st. The orders of the Board are final unless found to be unlawful by a court of competent jurisdiction. A 1991 court ruling indicates that any legal challenge to the Board's orders must be initiated within four months.