De Blasio: Rent increase ‘not a surprise’
Mayor Bill de Blasio showed no signs of frustration with the Rent Guidelines Board, after the panel voted last night to allow modest rent increases, over the mayor's call for a rent freeze.
"It was not a surprise to me that there would be difference of opinion, and we knew it would be a close vote either way you slice it, but I was trying to make it very clear what I thought was the right way to go," de Blasio said on Tuesday afternoon following an education press conference in City Hall.
After wavering on whether to back a rent freeze last week, de Blasio spoke in favor of the board keeping rents flat during a press conference Monday, hours before the vote. He claimed landlords have been charging tenants more than they should, based on their own incurred costs, such as property taxes and water bills.
In the end, the nine-member board, comprised of six de Blasio appointees and three holdovers from the Bloomberg administration, voted 5-4 for a modest hike of 1 percent on one-year leases and 2.75 percent on two-year leases for the city's one million rent-stabilized lessees.
De Blasio said he harbors no ill will toward the member who cast the critical vote, Steven Flax, whom he tapped for the role.
"It's not a surprise he might have a different view from folks on that panel who represent other constituencies. I've not talked to him today. I disagree with his actions. From everything I've heard of him, he's a person of integrity but I disagree with his vote," de Blasio said.
The board is made up of two representatives for tenants, two for landlords and five for the public. Flax is among those five.
When asked whether he would consider restructuring the board, he replied, "We will look at the future when the time comes in terms of the Rent Guidelines Board, but I think what's very clear to us is we want a numbers-driven decision. You did not always have that in the past."