New York to allow rent to be increased on high-rises

New York City will allow rent for new apartments to increase by 1,000 percent from current rates, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday, adding that he wants to “put New Yorkers first.”

In a letter to City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, de Blasio said the increase will benefit “millions of New Yorkers” and will “make New York the most affordable city in the nation.” 

“We need to make sure that New Yorkers get a fair shot at a good quality of life,” the mayor said.

“The increase in rent is necessary to achieve that goal.

And the more we make sure this is done the better the quality of our neighborhoods will be.”

The move follows months of negotiations between the city and the property owner, a developer known as The Ritz-Carlton.

The city and Ritz are working on an agreement on rent increases, which could be finalized as early as this week. 

The announcement came as part of a week-long meeting between city officials and the developer, which was attended by Mayor de Blasio and his top aides.

The mayor said he had reached an agreement with the developer that will increase rents in Brooklyn and Queens by 1 percent. 

De Blasio said in a statement Wednesday that the agreement would allow for “a gradual, steady increase in rents” while also ensuring that New York’s high-rise housing stock “is not becoming a housing wasteland.”

“The agreement I reached today will make sure New York continues to be the most competitive place in the world to live and invest, but also gives us the flexibility to achieve affordable housing goals in the city,” the city’s mayor said, adding he is committed to helping developers build more affordable housing.

De Blasio, who is seeking re-election in November, announced in February that he wanted to make housing affordable for all New Yorkers.

The plan calls for the city to provide affordable housing for residents who earn $125,000 or less a year, and it also requires that all rental units be at least one-third affordable. 

“Today’s announcement is an important step toward ensuring that our city is the most diverse, inclusive and welcoming place in America,” the president of the United Federation of Teachers, Richard Trumka, said in an emailed statement.

“We applaud the Mayor for his leadership in addressing the housing crisis and will continue to work with him to help make New York a more welcoming place.”

In a statement, the developer said it was “surprised and disappointed” by the mayor’s decision.

“We are grateful that the Mayor has given us an opportunity to work together to ensure that New Yorker families will continue enjoying the benefits of the city that is so important to them,” the statement read.

“This agreement will bring New York into compliance with the United States Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Department of Housing and Community Development’s (HUD)’s rent requirements, and we will continue working to achieve this goal.”

The Ritz is a major developer and owner of several high-end luxury homes in Manhattan, including two of the world’s most expensive apartments at 432 Park Avenue and 765 Fifth Avenue.

It also owns the luxury Manhattan condo complex The Rialto, which has been the site of protests over its proximity to Trump Tower. 

In a previous statement to The Associated Press, the Ritz said the city had not been forthcoming in sharing information about its new plan and that the deal will not have an impact on its ability to meet HUD’s rent requirements.

“I want to make clear that the city will not be changing our rent policy,” the Rialtos statement read, adding: “We will continue our efforts to build a more diverse and inclusive community in New York.” 

The Rialtios have also sought to lobby for higher rents in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, where a majority of residents earn less than $50,000 a year.

In a statement last month, the city said it would no longer enforce a 30 percent rent hike on apartments in Brooklyn Heights.

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