I testify to urge that the Rent Guidelines Board consider a rent freeze for tenants when it votes on the proposed 2015 increases.

I was heartened last year when the Rent Guidelines Board approved a historically low rent increase. This was a first step in the right direction for our City by keeping the increase to a more manageable level for our tenants. However, it did not go far enough. We still have to offer vital relief to the poor and middle-class of our City, given how many residents are struggling and have not seen their own paychecks increase over the past few years.

I believe that, in order to address the city’s growing income inequality, we should consider a rent freeze combined with a property tax decrease so that the people of this city have more money in their pockets to address basic needs, while also providing a respite for property owners who would not see an increase from their tenants.

In addition, the city needs to work to do more to diversify its housing stock not just by creating opportunities for low and middle-income housing but also developing greater prospects for homeownership.

New York City should be a place everyone can afford to live in and we should utilize every mechanism to preserve affordability for all New Yorkers. With that said, a rent freeze would be a major step towards assuring that affordability exists.

Thank you.