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Westchester owners get 100% comparable allowance.

While Westchester's rent-stabilized owners were left wanting last week after they received their increases of 3 percent for one-year leases and 4 percent for two-year leases, the county's rent board did throw them one tasty bone.

The board voted to allow owners of the county's 50,000 rent-stabilized units to raise rents of vacant apartments to the highest rent level of comparable apartments.

The vacancy allowance, as well as the increases, apply to leases commenced between Oct. 1, 1992, and Sept. 30, 1992.

Albert Annunziata, a spokesman for the White Plains-based Apartments Owners Advisory Council, said: "That is of tremendous help to owners because there have been historically low rents in some buildings."

Annunziata said the board has voted to do this before in recent years, and there was not significant opposition because it does not effect the tenants in place.

This provision enables owners to raise the rent of a vacant apartment to the level of a comparable apartment in their own rent-regulated building. It does not mean they can raise the rent equal to market rate. The vacancy allowance will expire next year if not renewed.

"This is not vacancy decontrol," he said.

Owner Reps Missing

The 3 percent and 4 percent increases were ratified by the board unanimously after five different proposals were rejected during the two-hour meeting at the County Court House.

Tenants whose landlords do not pay for heat and hot water will only pay increases of 2.4 percent for one-year leases and 3.2 percent for two-year leases.

Owners, who had been seeking rent increases of 6.5 percent and 9.5 percent, endured most of their hearings. with two tenant reps missing on the board. The owner reps, Annunziata said, were approved in the 11th hour by the state Division of Housing and Community Renewal. The reps were placed on the board Monday afternoon and the board passed the increases Monday Evening.

Tenants were looking for a rent roll-back of 5 percent. The board has not rolled back rents since it issued its first order in 1974. In 1983, no increases were approved for rent-stabilized apartments.

Last year's allowable hikes were 3.5 percent and 5 percent - New York City's current rates.
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Title Annotation:Westchester County, New York allows rent increase in vacant apartments of rent-stabilized buildings
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Aug 19, 1992
Previous Article:New law to cap taxes for 2-10 co-ops/condos.
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