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An Introduction to the NYC Rent Guidelines Board
Table of Contents

DUTIES OF THE RENT GUIDELINES BOARD
(PART III)

Go To:
(Part I) (Part II) (Part III)

Meetings, Hearings and Administrative Procedures

Meetings

The Board typically holds eight to ten meetings per year to discuss its research agenda, review staff reports and to hear testimony from invited guests including public officials, housing experts and industry and tenant representatives. In accordance with the Open Meetings Law every meeting of the Board must be open to the public, except when circumstances warrant executive sessions.160 Public notice of any meeting scheduled at least one week in advance must be provided to the press and conspicuously posted in a public location at least 72 hours before the meeting. Notice of meetings scheduled less than one week in advance must be given, to the extent practicable, to the press, and publicly posted at a reasonable time before the meeting. The schedule of Board meetings is usually discussed and resolved in the early spring and is published in the City Record.

Executive sessions are permissible for the limited purposes set forth in §105 of the Public Officers Law and to consult with legal counsel.

Hearings

The Rent Stabilization Law §26-510(h) (contained in Appendix A) along with the City Charter [discussed below] mandates annual hearings prior to the adoption of rent guidelines. Separate hearings are held for the apartment and hotel sectors. Notice of the hearings is provided in the City Record for eight days and at least once in a newspaper of general circulation at least eight days before the hearing. The hearings are usually held in mid-June just prior to the Board's July 1st deadline for promulgating new guidelines. Any person who wishes to testify has a legal right to do so, and the Board has traditionally allowed three minutes for each speaker, alternating between owner and tenant representatives. Speakers have also been permitted to register in advance of the hearings and pre-registered speakers are given priority in the order of speakers. The hearings usually begin with testimony from public officials invited by the Board.

Administrative Procedures

Prior to the adoption, in 1988, of Chapter 45 of the New York City Charter, also known as the City Administrative Procedure Act, or "CAPA", the Board operated exclusively under the limited procedures prescribed by the Rent Stabilization Law. CAPA is a uniform set of rulemaking and adjudication procedures which applies to City agencies. Since the Board does not perform any adjudicative functions it is only affected by CAPA's rulemaking procedures. These procedures added the requirement that proposed guidelines be published at least thirty days prior to the public hearings on the final guidelines. Consequently, the Board's procedures have remained largely unchanged except to the extent that proposed guidelines are now adopted at a public meeting which takes place in mid-May. The hearings that are conducted in mid-June pursuant to §26-510(h) of the Rent Stabilization Law also function as CAPA hearings on the proposed guidelines. A copy of CAPA is included in Appendix X.

Voting Meetings - Order of Business

Two meetings are held each year for a vote on rent adjustments: the meeting to adopt proposed guidelines discussed above, and the meeting to adopt the final guidelines. While the Chair and the Board establish the order of business, a typical voting meeting will proceed as follows:

  • Board members attention will be called to drafts of the apartment (and loft) orders in their folders. At the meeting on the proposed guidelines, these drafts will consist of the prior year's order with blank spaces where rent adjustments will be entered. Approving this "boilerplate" language will usually be the first order of business. At the meeting to consider the "final" guidelines, members will have copies of the proposed orders. The first order of business will typically be to adopt the language of the proposed orders except insofar as they are amended at that meeting.
  • Board members attention will then be called to the hotel orders and a similar process of boilerplate approval will occur.
  • The floor will be opened to proposals on apartment guidelines for one and two year leases. Other elements of rent adjustments such as supplemental increases for low rent apartments or a vacancy factor for sublets161 may be "packaged" with the apartment guidelines. Votes are taken on each proposal in accordance with Roberts Rules, until at least five votes can be mustered for an apartment order.
  • Loft guidelines are considered separately in a like fashion.
  • The Board will then consider the "special guideline" for units coming out of rent control. See here for a discussion of this guideline.
  • The next order of business is usually the "hotel" orders. There are five groups of hotel stabilized units: Class A and Class B hotels, rooming houses, SRO's and lodging houses. These groups may be addressed separately or together. Voting proceeds in the same fashion as for apartments.
  • Any special or new items of business may be introduced at any time, but any material change in the order of business will require a majority vote.
  • Once all business has concluded at the final meeting, the Chair will ask the Board to approve staff preparation of explanatory statements reflecting the information presented to the Board and the major findings of the year (i.e. price index, income and expense data, witness testimony etc.). These will be circulated to Board members prior to publication.
  • A motion to adjourn will be taken.

Final Orders and Explanatory Statements

Usually about one week after the final vote, the Board's orders and related explanatory statements are filed with the City Clerk and published in the City Record. The Rent Stabilization Law directs that the filing of the Board's orders and its findings--i.e. the explanatory statements--must be completed not later than July 1st of each year. Once the language of the orders is reviewed and approved by Corporation Counsel, the orders and explanatory statements should be published in the City Record as soon as is practicable. The final orders and explanatory statements should be forwarded to City Council for its information and published at least 30 days (by August 31st) before the first effective date of the orders (October 1st).

The guidelines themselves go into effect for leases being renewed and vacancies occurring on or after October 1st of the same year, and on or before September 30th of the following year. Most hotel/SRO tenants do not have leases and pay the new rent immediately upon the effective date of the hotel guidelines--which is also October 1st.

The orders of the Board are final unless found to be unlawful by a court of competent jurisdiction. A 1991 court ruling indicates that any legal challenge to the Board's orders must be initiated within four months.162

DUTIES OF THE RENT GUIDELINES BOARD
(Part I) (Part II) (Part III)

An Introduction to the NYC Rent Guidelines Board
Table of Contents

Footnotes

160 A copy of the relevant portions of the Open Meetings Law is contained in Appendix W.

161 Note that since 1997 vacancy guidelines are prescribed by statute. The RGB retains the authority to increase rents where sublets occur as per the Rent Stabilization Code, section 2525.6(e).

162 See case #15, supra at page 43 .


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