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Westchester County passes 3%, 4% rent guidelines.

The Westchester Rent Guidelines Board adopted new rent increases of 3 percent for one-year leases and 4 percent for two-year leases and kept the 100 percent compatibility vacancy factor.

These increases were the same as last year's for those apartments supplied with heat and hot water. Those tenants who pay for their own utilities will receive increases of 2.4 percent and 3.2 percent, also the same as last year. Those leases beginning Oct. 1 will be affected.

Albert Annunziata, director of the Building and Realty Institute of Westchester, said the industry was successful in impressing upon the public members of the board that the industry needed this basic level maintained.

"The tenant reps were going for an outlandish rent freeze of zero, zero guidelines," he said. "In our opinion, the data supported an increase of 5 and 7 percent ... but maintaining the three and four and the 100 percent compatibility on the vacancy was absolutely necessary. Me owner reps argued persuasively and got all the public members to concur."

The tenant reps are Stephen J. McCulloch Jr., a Houlihan & Parnes broker who concentrates on investment sales and mortgage placements, and Vassil Baeff of Bronxville, who works for the Marriott Corporation.

McCulloch said the owners aren't "thrilled" with the guideline. "It's less than what we would have liked to have seen," he said.

On a two-year lease owners will be losing money on the guideline increases because the Division of Housing and Community Renewal projects expenses will increase at 3.2 percent both this year and next.

"So on a two-year lease you will lose 2.5 percent over two years," McCullough observed." It's a difficult thing an owner to accept.

One of the public members was persuaded to amend a motion for a 2.4 percent increase on a one-year lease to the final compromise of 3 percent. Another of the five public members, who had told the chairman he would be late. didn't make it to the meeting in time for the vote.

Lisa Omboni, a rental agent and office manager of Main 63 Realty in Dobbs Ferry, said the owners deserve the increase. "We went through a rough time," she noted.

Five years ago one-bedroom apartments were renting for $850 to $875 and today they are getting $750 for the same apartment.

Omboni said the 100 percent compatibility vacancy means that when an older person vacates the apartment that was renting perhaps for $350 to $400, the rents can be brought up to the highest allowed for a similar apartment. "As soon as they get out," she continued, "the landlords renovate the apartments because they usually have ancient kitchens." So these one-bedrooms could now be $740 or more. "Don't you think after putting the money in they deserve the increase?," she added.

The guidelines affect about 30,000 apartments, including co-ops with tenants in place, in 18 municipalities that have adopted the Emergency Tenant Protection Act.
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Title Annotation:Westchester County, New York
Author:Weiss, Lois
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Aug 11, 1993
Previous Article:Interest rate lowered on RE tax judgements.
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