Showing posts with label Rent. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rent. Show all posts

Friday, February 26, 2021

Community groups and small businesses rally for commercial rent relief

Photos by Stacie Joy

Local community groups gathered yesterday morning to call on state legislators to support commercial rent relief for small businesses. 

The event took place outside Michelle Dry Cleaners & Laundry, 169 Avenue C between 10th Street and 11th Street...  
Organizers, which included the Cooper Square Committee, East Village Community Coalition, Village Preservation and the East Village Independent Merchants Association, said that they have been hearing from many business owners who continue to struggle to pay rent during the pandemic ... all in the face of drastic declines in their revenues.

In addition, according to the organizers, immigrant and business owners of color say they have been disappointed by the lack of outreach and assistance in securing working capital to stay afloat.

In turn, several of the small businesses were placing "Permanently Closed" signs on their storefronts to visualize their struggle and what is at stake if the state does not take action. They are asking state legislators to support Senate Bill 3349/Assembly Bill 3190, which would help cover the cost of rent for businesses and nonprofits who lost income due to COVID-19. 

Under the bill, the commercial tenant, property owner and state government would share the burden of the rent shortfall. Certified COVID-19-affected commercial tenants would have to pay the lesser of 20 percent of their actual income or one-third of their rent, property owners would have to forgive 20 percent of the rent, and the state would pay the remainder. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

The 25th anniversary of 'Rent'

This week marked the 25th anniversary of the very first performance of "Rent" ... the musical, which would later win the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award, debuted on Jan. 25, 1996, at the New York Theatre Workshop on Fourth Street between Second Avenue and the Bowery. 

NPR published a look back at "Rent" this week (find the article here), recounting how the performance almost never happened as creator Jonathan Larson died that morning of an aortic aneurysm.

On March 2, the New York Theatre Workshop is hosting a virtual fundraiser in honor of "Rent"'s anniversary.

Per the invite:
This virtual celebration of "Rent" and its impact on the collective cultural consciousness will feature a selection of iconic songs by some of today's most beloved recording and theatre artists, exclusive content uncovering how "Rent" came to life, and reflections on the driving force of Jonathan's legacy in the American theatre.
Scheduled performers include Idina Menzel, Adam Pascal, Billy Porter, Anthony Rapp and Daphne Rubin-Vega, among many others.

Tix for the fundraiser start at $25. Find more details about "25 Years of Rent: Measured in Love" at this link

"Rent," which was based on Puccini's "La bohème," later made its Broadway debut on April 29, 1996. You can read more about the musical's East Village connections here

And this year will mark the 10th anniversary of the closing of Life Cafe, where Jonathan Larson wrote "Rent" while hanging out in the early 1990s, on 10th Street and Avenue B.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Here are the rent increases for rent-stabilized apartment dwellers

[Image via 1010 WINS]

The nine-member Rent Guidelines Board voted last night on rent increases for residents living in the city's more than 1 million rent-stabilized apartments

This is what the board ultimately decided on at the Great Hall at Cooper Union, based on various published reports:

• For a one-year lease, tenants can expect a 1.5 percent hike.

• For a two-year lease, tenants can expect a 2.5 percent jump.

This year’s increases are identical to those approved last year.

The changes will go into effect on Oct. 1.

The Times had some background on the decades-old tradition:

The new increases are modest given the history of the board, which was formed 50 years ago.

The board allowed rent increases of up to 14 percent for certain two-year leases in 1980. Under the Bloomberg administration, yearly rent increases for one-year leases hovered at about 3.25 percent on average.

But rent caps have been considerably lower under Mayor Bill de Blasio.

During his first mayoral campaign, he pledged a temporary freeze on regulated rents, in order, he said, to protect low-income tenants from a roaring real estate market. A majority of rent-stabilized tenants pay more than 30 percent of their income in rent.

In 2015, the board approved a rent freeze on one-year leases for the first time in its history. It did so again in 2016, but the board approved modest increases in 2017.

This year, the board considered rent increases as high as 6.75 percent, rent decreases and another rent freeze, which tenant groups supported.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

[Updated] Preliminary vote on increases for rent-stabilized apartments set for tonight at Cooper Union

The city's Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) is holding its preliminary vote tonight to decide whether to seek increases for 1-million rent-controlled units in the city.

Members of the Rent Justice Coalition — including tenants, advocates and community organizers — as well as some elected officials will rally in front of the Municipal Building before heading to where the vote will take place — the Great Hall at Cooper Union.

The group will demand that the RGB freeze rents on rent-stabilized units to address the affordable housing crisis in the city. The Coalition released this statement yesterday:

While the Rent Justice Coalition counts past rent freezes as successes, data show landlords have been overcompensated for decades with high rent increases, including an 8.5 percent increase at the height of the recession in 2009. In fact, rent-stabilized tenants are rent burdened, with half of them paying about a third of their income for rent. At the same time, many low-income families pay as much as 60-70 percent of their income in rent.

A new report (PDF here) released by the RGB — showing that operating costs for landlords have gone up again this year — makes it seem unlikely that they will approve a rent freeze this year, per Curbed on April 18.

Last June, the RGB voted to allow rent increases on the city’s 1 million rent-stabilized apartments, with one-year leases subject to 1.25 percent raises, and two-year leases subject to 2 percent hikes — this after two consecutive years of rent freezes.

The RGB's final vote is June 26 at Cooper Union. Find the schedule, including all public hearings, right here.

Updated 10 a.m.

Per the Post:

The Rent Stabilization Association, which represents 25,000 landlords, says it will request an increase of 4 percent for new one-year leases and 7 percent for two years.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Rent freeze fight underway for 2018

Friday, March 9, 2018

Rent freeze fight underway for 2018

[Image yesterday via]

Members of the Rent Justice Coalition along with several elected officials held a rally downtown yesterday outside the Rent Guidelines Board’s first meeting of the year.

The Coaltion was out to demand that the RGB freeze rents for tenants in rent-stabilized apartments. In addition, the group wants to ensure that tenants have a voice at the RGB's upcoming hearings across the city.

Last June, the RGB voted to allow rent increases on the city’s 1 million rent-stabilized apartments, with one-year leases subject to 1.25 percent raises, and two-year leases subject to 2 percent hikes — this after two consecutive years of rent freezes.

Per a release from the Coalition:

While the coalition counts past rent freezes as successes, data show landlords have been overcompensated for decades with high rent increases, including an 8.5 percent increase at the height of the recession in 2009. In fact, rent stabilized tenants are rent burdened, with half of them paying about a third of their income for rent. At the same time, many low-income families pay as much as 60-70 percent of their income in rent.

While tenants face rising cost, landlords are making more money and paying less for expenses. Property resale prices are up; rent revenue is up; and foreclosures are low. The Rent Justice Coalition is demanding another from the Rent Guidelines Board to allow rent-stabilized tenants to keep their homes.

Here are quotes from local-elected officials:

Council Member Margaret S. Chin: "While our city has made progress in the movement for affordability, we need to keep the protections currently in place that provide relief to millions of rent-stabilized tenants across New York City. At the Rent Guidelines Board public meeting, tenants and rent justice advocates will make their voices heard on the importance of not only a rent freeze, but a rent rollback, and I urge the Board to make sure their feedback is taken into account at every step of the process."

Council Member and Progressive Caucus Member Carlina Rivera: "After a difficult rent increase in 2017, we must fight to make this the year of the rent freeze for our rent-stabilized residents.I continue to hear from people across my district that any increase could put them seconds away from losing their homes. Many of the rent-regulated tenants in my district have lived here for decades. To see them forced out by unnecessary rent increases would destroy the heart of our neighborhood identity."

The next RGB meeting is April 5. Their preliminary vote is April 26 at Cooper Union. Find the full upcoming schedule here.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Report: Another freeze on 1-year leases for rent-stabilized apartments; 2% for 2-year leases

Here's part of a report from The New York Times from the Great Hall at Cooper Union last evening:

The board that sets rents for more than one million rent-stabilized apartments in New York City voted on Monday to freeze rents for one-year leases for the second year in a row.

By a vote of 7 to 0, with two abstentions, the New York City Rent Guidelines Board also decided to raise rents by 2 percent for two-year leases, a modest rise that mirrors last year’s. The vote, which came during a typically emotional board meeting, was in keeping with the historically low rent increases that the board had previously approved during the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat who appointed the full board.

Head to the Times for full details and the usual drama.

WABC-7 reported that, given the number of people in attendance, it took an hour for tenants to file into Cooper Union.

Per The Wall Street Journal:

Landlord groups criticized the rent freeze, calling it a political move by the mayor and his appointees at a time when local property-tax assessments and other costs have been rising for years. They said owners’ heating costs haven’t fallen as much as the board’s data suggested.

“Another abhorrent illustration of de Blasio’s politics dictating housing policy,” said Joseph Strasburg, president of the Rent Stabilization Association, a group representing building owners.

To recap via Curbed: Now, tenants living in rent-stabilized units, whose leases expire between Oct. 1, 2016, and Sept. 30, 2017 can renew at the same rate for one-year, and tenants with two-year leases will be able to do so with a two percent increase.

Friday, August 21, 2015

How does rent in the East Village stack up against other neighborhoods?

[Click to go big]

The folks at real-estate startup Zumper released a report on the most and least affordable neighborhoods to rent in (specifically one-bedroom apartments)...

In the infographic above, you can see how the East Village stacks up vs. other neighborhoods. For rents lower than the East Village's $2,725 in Manhattan, you could go south to the Lower East Side ($2,550) or head up to Central Harlem and West Harlem, both with a median of $2,100 for a one bedroom, and Washington Heights at $1,750.

Meanwhile, Zumper provided data on how the East Village rates against the city as a whole...

Monday, June 29, 2015

Report: Rent freeze on 1-year leases for rent-controlled apartments

[Photo by Peter Brownscombe]

The Rent Guidelines Board voted tonight at Cooper Union for a freeze on one-year leases for rent-stabilized apartments, "an unprecedented move in its 46-year history," The New York Times reports. The board voted for a 2 percent increase for two-year leases.

Updated 9:16 p.m.

The city released this information following tonight's vote...

For the 1.2 million New Yorkers who live in a rent-stabilized unit, this is what tonight's vote means for you:

• If you sign a one-year renewal on your lease between 10/1/2015 and 9/30/2016, your rent should not increase.
• If you sign a two-year renewal on your lease between 10/1/2015 and 9/30/2016, your rent should increase 2%.
• If you are facing any sort of harassment from your landlord, call 311 immediately and report it.

Updated 6-30 with a few photos via EVG reader Peter Brownscombe…

Friday, June 22, 2012

Rents going up, duh

The Rent Guidelines Board met at Cooper Union last night to vote on increases for rent-stabilized apartments in NYC.

And? Could have been worse!

Per Curbed, which has a nice summation of the evening:

The RGB voted 5 to 4 to approve an increase of 2 percent or $20, whichever is greater, on one-year leases, and a 4 percent or $40 increase on two-year leases. The owner members had wanted 5 percent and 9 percent, while the tenant members wanted a complete freeze.

Friday, December 16, 2011


Watch more comedy videos from the twisted minds of the UCB Theatre at

Via the Upright Citizens Brigade — "The hit musical Rent is updated for the hip East Village of today."

Friday, February 20, 2009

Why you won't be seeing some high school productions of "Rent"

As the Times reports today:

Theater directors and students at more than 40 high schools across the country have selected a new show for their big springtime musical this year: “Rent: School Edition,” a modified version of the hit Broadway musical that, while toned down a bit, remains provocative by traditional drama club standards.

Too provocative, in the view of some high school officials and parents. At least three of the planned high school productions, in California, Texas and West Virginia, have been canceled after administrators or parents raised objections about the show’s morality, its portrayals of homosexuality and theft, and its frank discussions of drug use and H.I.V., according to administrators, teachers and parents involved in those cases.

The article focuses on Ron Martin, the theater director at Corona del Mar High School in Newport Beach, Calif. "Rent," which depicts struggling artists living in the East Village, was cancelled there.

He said his principal, Fal Asrani, had objected to the show because of its treatment of “prostitution and homosexuality.” “When I heard that, I stopped her and looked her in the eye and said, ‘First, there is no prostitution in ‘Rent,’ and second, homosexuality is not wrong,’ ” Mr. Martin said. “She made no comment. It was the most demoralizing, disappointing moment in my career as a teacher.”

The principal denies this. In any event, what will Martin show instead?

He also said he was leaning toward directing “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” as the spring musical “because I don’t think there’s anything she can object to in that.”

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Stories from the front lines of renting: Recent Yale grads get a deal on an apartment in the LES

From The LES Free Press, written by students in the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism:

The apartment is tiny. None of its three bedrooms holds a bed bigger than a twin. But it’s renovated, clean, and it’s in the middle of the fast-moving Lower East Side – the perfect place for three newly-minted Yale graduates to make their first mark on the city. Apartment hunters Andrew Cedotal, Allison Guy and Danielle La Rocco are on the fence, however. For almost $3,300 a month, they expect more space.

“It’s a great apartment, but it’s a little smaller than we’re looking for,” La Rocco says to the agent showing the place.

What happens next is something that would have been unheard of even a year ago, but that real estate experts say is becoming more common: the agent offers to broker a better deal if the three will take the apartment today. Within minutes, the trio has reduced their rent by a few hundred dollars a month, and La Rocco is dispatched to get a money order while the other two fill out applications. The deal is done.

Do episodes like this mean Manhattan’s notoriously bullish rental market is softening? Daniel Baum, a broker who runs the Real Estate Group, an industry organization that puts out an analysis of Manhattan rental prices each month, says yes.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"Sitting through 'Rent' is more painful than a scrotal nick"

Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic had a short post on Campbell Robertson's "Rent" essay from the Sunday Times that we had discussed. That piece began:

I WAS late to "Rent." Late to the show, and late to the city it portrays. When I arrived in New York, in the fall of 1998, bistros and boutiques had already infiltrated the East Village, gentrification was spreading into the Lower East Side, and northwest Brooklyn had largely fallen to the forces of the bourgeoisie.

According to Goldberg, Robertson broke an age-old journalism tenet. I learned a long time ago Peter Kann's rule concerning the first-person pronoun: "No reporter may start a story with the word 'I' unless he's been shot in the groin.

He continued:

On the other hand, sitting through "Rent" is more painful than a scrotal nick. Robertson is newly assigned to the Baghdad bureau of the Times, which has its hardships, but I'd take Baghdad over "Rent" most days of the week.

[Via Romenesko]

Previously on EV Grieve:

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The East Village: "Where you can come live on dreams and tofu"

Campbell Robertson takes a look at the Broadway smasheroo "Rent, " which closes in September after nearly 12 years, in the Times Sunday....("Bohemia takes its final bows")


Now, 12 years later, it would be impossible to see the show and think it was set any time in the past decade. Much of “Rent” has become downright nostalgic, almost jarringly so. Several numbers revolve around pay phones and answering machines (20-somethings with answering machines!). Roger, the gloomy, HIV-positive guitarist with a nasty case of rocker’s block, plays gigs at CBGB, then a landmark of the New York underground music scene, now a menswear boutique. A group of lefty hipsters talk politics with no mention of anyone named Cheney or even the first Bush.


Did “Rent” play a part in changing the neighborhood it celebrates? Probably. “Rent” is the “All the President’s Men” of aspirant hipsters, a great advertisement for Alphabet City (once and never more to be marked off by the avenues Awful, Bad, Crazy and Dangerous), where you can come live on dreams and tofu.


I’d go even further and stipulate: “Rent” is a safe, accessible show that at times struggles, even strains, to put up a dangerous front. The “Rent” marketing campaign has tempered that gritty facade in recent years; the show now, like “The Phantom of the Opera,” advertises itself as something you simply have to see — and come back to — because of its place in the culture.

But think about that. Is there a more accurate reflection of recent New York history? Friendly, clean, low-crime, nonsmoking, trans-fat-free, cabs-that-take-credit-cards New York? A city we can’t honestly pretend is rough and gritty anymore?