NYC Mayor Eric Adams recently announced the appointment of Nestor Davidson as the new chair of the New York City Rent Guidelines Board. The nine-member Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) is responsible for adjusting rents for the one million New York City apartments subject to the city’s rent stabilization law.
The context:The mayor appoints all of the members. Two members are appointed to represent tenant interests. One of these serves a two-year term, and the other a three-year term. Two members are appointed to represent owner interests. Like the tenant members, one serves a two-year term, and the other a three-year term. Five members (including the chairperson) are appointed to represent the general public. One of these serves a two-year term, another a three-year term, and two serve four-year terms. The chairperson serves at the pleasure of the mayor.
As a result of the mayor’s appointing powers, the board’s annual decision on whether to raise rents on rent-regulated apartment reflects the mayor’s posture toward one of the most significant housing issues under his control as mayor. In his first year as mayor, RGB in a 5 to 4 vote approved a 3.25 percent rent hike for one-year leases and a 5 percent rent hike on two-year leases. This vote was a shift from the de Blasio era, during which there were several rent freezes and only slight increases over eight years.
One level deeper: Nestor Davidson is a professor of housing and land use at Fordham University School of Law. He previously served as special counsel and principal deputy general counsel at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He also served as a clerk for former Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter. And he was a New York State Housing Finance Agency board member for six years.
According to the city’s press release, Davidson’s appointment reflects the Adams administration’s commitment to low-income housing and evidence-based policymaking. In a statement, Mayor Adams said, “Nestor Davidson brings the experience and expertise New Yorkers deserve in a leader at the Rent Guidelines Board. I am confident he will be a faithful steward of our city’s rent stabilized housing stock while rooting his decisions in facts and data. Rent stabilization is one important part of our affordable housing ecosystem, and our administration will always continue using all of the tools in our toolbox to make New York City more affordable, to create the housing we desperately need, and to support working people.”
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