By Philip Newman

A rent freeze for New York City’s 1 million rent-regulated apartments has been a tenet of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration and, if a city board votes next month as it did Monday, the mayor’s vision could become reality.

A reality at least for renters choosing one-year leases.

The city Rent Guidelines Board, which decides how much those living in rent-regulated apartments pay, specified that tenants under one-year leases would pay zero percent to 3 percent more rent.

Those choosing two-year leases would pay 0.5 percent to 4.5 percent more.

The board approved the rental proposal by an 8-1 vote.

“We have a vote today which includes the potential for a rent freeze in a one-year lease that not only the tenants voted for, but we got a landlord rep to vote for it,” said Harvey Epstein, a tenant representative on the board. “This is a historic moment in New York City.”

“This is outrageous,” said Jack Freund, vice president of the Rent Stabilization Association, which represents some 25,000 owners and managers of rent-regulated housing. “There will be dis-investments on a massive scale. Owners are not going to be able to maintain decent living conditions for their housing. There will be less affordable housing.”

The state Department of Housing and Community Renewal said that in 2012 there were 144,000 rent-stabilized apartments and 5,000 rent-controlled apartments in the borough.

De Blasio had campaigned on a pledge to freeze rents and he appointed six new members to the board, including a new chairman, Rachel Godsil,

Between now and June 23, when a final vote will be taken at a meeting at Cooper Union in Manhattan, the Rent Guidelines Board will hold a series of public hearings, including one at 5 p.m. June 23 at Queens Borough Hall.

The Rent Guidelines Board has never authorized a rent freeze or rent rollback since the unit was established in 1969.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledgernews@cnglocal.com or phone at 718-260-4536.

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