Introduction to the NYC Rent Guidelines Board
to the New York City Rent Guidelines Board covers the structure, function
and history of the Board and its role in the rent stabilization system. Some
attention has also been given to the broader regulatory environment affecting
all residential landlord/tenant relations within the City.
The section entitled "Membership
on the Board" covers the technical and legal requirements of Board
membership. Prospective members are asked to review this section carefully
prior to finalizing their appointment to the Board. Staff is also expected
to be familiar with all aspects of these requirements.
An appendix has
been provided for additional materials which are brief enough to be conveniently
added. Other materials may be obtained through the sources noted in the text
or in the list of "Other Noteworthy Materials" following
the Table of Contents. Many excellent scholarly works and government publications
are maintained in the staff library as are transcripts of prior meetings,
past Board orders and related documents. These are available to Board members
This work is intended
to acquaint the Board and its staff with many rent regulation and landlord/tenant
issues in a general way. The analysis and commentary is that of the author/consultant.
Nothing herein should be viewed as an official statement of the Rent Guidelines
Board nor any of its individual members. It is not an authoritative legal
document and should not be used as a primary reference for legal research.
For those who have specific questions concerning landlord/tenant matters,
the various laws, court decisions, regulations and government reports cited
in this publication should be consulted directly. Professional assistance
may be advised. Board members may, of course, consult directly with staff
if further information or analysis is desired.
to the work of the Rent Guidelines Board and the rent stabilization system
has truly been a collaborative and evolving effort. In the early years of
the Board's operation, newly appointed members were supplied with notes and
memoranda on various aspects of their investigative and rulemaking functions.
These briefing materials grew each year as the Board launched new studies
and gained access to new sources of information. In 1989 the Board published
the first of its well-received annual reports on New York City's housing
market and demographic trends. In that same year, I prepared the first edition
of this work while serving as the Board's executive director. The third and
last edition was published in 1994.
In 1999 Anita
Visser was appointed executive director and began a process of conducting
a complete re-organization of all of the materials and resources used by
staff to support the Board's work. The updating of this book fit well within
this larger effort. Because of Anita's leadership, future Board members and
staff will find an operation in top shape to face new challenges. Anita contributed
extensively to this edition, adding most of the graphs and tables, reviewing
and critiquing early drafts, and diplomatically nudging me along when the
demands of my private law practice tugged in other directions. Largely as
a result of Anita's input, this new edition is substantially revised and
attorneys from the City's Office of Corporation Counsel reviewed and contributed
extensively to this work. Spencer Fisher, Anthony Crowell and Ellen Schroeder
meticulously examined the text and footnotes and suggested dozens of improvements.
As a busy attorney myself, I know how demanding a careful review of an extensive
document like this can be. I was highly impressed by the earnestness and
care which they exhibited in their review, and I am deeply grateful for their
time and input. I emphasize, however, that the final product and the opinions
and views expressed herein, are my own and not an official statement of the
Office of the Corporation Counsel.
Since the first
edition of these materials in 1989, every member of the staff of the Rent
Guidelines Board has provided some support and assistance. This latest edition
benefited greatly from the assistance provided by Andrew McLaughlin, Susan
Hayes and Cecille Latty. It has always been a pleasure to work with Andrew
who assisted in formatting these materials. Susan deserves special recognition
for taking primary responsibility for incorporating changes from each draft
- a painfully tedious process which includes checking and re-checking each
page and each note to ensure that the internal referencing is correct. Her
patience is greatly appreciated. Cecille carefully compiled and collated
several of the appendices.
I want to also
thank the Board's chairman, Edward Hochman, who has been a steadfast supporter
of updating and expanding these briefing materials. Throughout his tenure,
Ed has insisted upon the highest quality and integrity in the research which
underlies the guideline setting process. In this respect, his contribution
to this work cannot be overstated.
As with any collaborative
work, several individuals deserve credit for their contributions, but the
author alone must take responsibility for the final content. To the extent
that any errors or shortcomings remain, I accept that responsibility. To
borrow a phrase from Yeats, I have tried to "cast a cold eye" on the complex
and conflicted world in which the Board operates. If certain matters have
escaped my attention, I encourage others to fill in the gaps. The primary
goal of these materials is not to have the final word, but to contribute
to a conversation with integrity.
Finally, I want
to extend my warmest thanks to my wife Marilyn and children Danny and Emily.
This is the last of several late evenings I have devoted to completing this
project. It is 10:17 PM on a Sunday night. Time to go home.
Timothy L. Collins
New York, New York
March 11, 2001