Hilary Botein said she was surprised to be asked to serve on the board. (Photo courtesy of Hilary Botein)
By Sabina Mollot
Last Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced two new appointments to the Rent Guidelines Board — the same day the board held its first meeting to help determine this year’s rent increase (or freeze) for over a million households.
One was real estate professor and lawyer David Reiss. The other was Hilary Botein, an attorney and associate professor at Baruch College’s Marxe School of Public and International Affairs, who teaches courses on housing and community development policy. Both she and Reiss are now public members, replacing K. Sabeel Rahman and Steven Flax.
Reached on the phone after Botein attended her first RGB meeting as an active participant, she told Town & Village the call from the mayor’s office came as a surprise. However, saying yes to the unpaid position wasn’t difficult for Botein, who’s been to many RGB hearings and meetings as an observer and has also sent her students to the often raucous forum for assignments.
“It is a lot of work and a big responsibility,” she said, “but I also felt it was an opportunity to bring my experience and knowledge of housing in New York to (impact) millions of people.”
Tenants rallied outside 1 Centre Street on Thursday (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Rent stabilized tenants geared up for the upcoming Rent Guidelines Board vote at a rally before the board’s first public meeting of the year this past Thursday morning. Encouraged by a recent ruling by the New York Supreme Court, tenant advocates pushed for a rent rollback.
“As Judge Debra James ruled in her courtroom on Tuesday, the RGB must consider tenant affordability, along with landlord expenses, income and profit,” said Anne Cunningham, a tenant of a residential hotel on the Upper West Side who has been coming to RGB-related housings rights protests for more than 30 years. “And when the RGB votes, they must consider a rent rollback for tenants as a fair and reasonable rent adjustment.”
Tenants protest the lawsuit last September. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
On Tuesday, a judge ruled against a landlord group that had sued to undo the rent freeze for over a million stabilized tenants in New York City.
The fight might not be over though since the Rent Stabilization Association, which represents over 25,000 property owners in the city, later tweeted that it would review Judge Debra James’ decision and “seek grounds for appeal.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio, meanwhile, cheered the news, and while discussing it on Tuesday, also brought up the mansion tax, saying this would create affordable housing for 25,000 more New Yorkers.
“Everyone who has struggled to pay the rent ― here’s the good news ― the people won and the landlords lost,” de Blasio said.
Ryan Singer, executive director of the Board of Standards and Appeals, tells protesters the application has been withdrawn. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
The developers of the former Peter Stuyvesant Post Office site have given up on trying to get the green light to add another story to their planned East 14th Street residential building.
The announcement that Benenson Capital Partners and Mack Real Estate Group had withdrawn their application was made on Tuesday morning. The news, delivered by Ryan Singer, executive director of the Board of Standards and Appeals, to a group of mostly union member protesters across the street from the BSA building on Reade Street, elicited cheers.
“The process worked the way it should,” Singer said. “Based on comments from the board yesterday, they felt they could no longer pursue the variance.”