Success is no accident

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Success is no accidentOn 1 Jul 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article The European Health and Safety Week will look at reducing the toll ofworkplace accidentsThis year’s European Health and Safety Week will focus on the prevention ofaccidents in the workplace, the Health and Safety Executive has announced. The week, – running from October 15 – will have the theme “Success isno accident” and will look at ways of reducing the toll of deaths andinjuries that occur unnecessarily every year in the workplace. Latest figures show an average of 400 people are killed annually in the UKby work activities and more than a million are injured, revealed the HSE. As well as the huge cost in terms of misery and suffering, these accidentsresult in a loss of £18bn to the British economy, it added. Peter Rimmer, HSE director of information, said: “Reducing workplaceaccidents will obviously save lives and injuries but, from a businessviewpoint, it also makes economic sense. “The most successful companies usually have the best accidentprevention records. The European Health and Safety Week has fast become aBritish success story and I would urge all businesses to take part and share inits success.” The event, part of a wider European initiative organised by the EuropeanAgency for Safety and Health, has been run since 1996, and has growndramatically in importance and influence, particularly in the UK. Last year’s safety week, held last autumn, involved 7,000 UK organisationswith its message reaching more than 4 million employees. More than 5,000activities, major advertising initiatives and other actions were carried out,with more than 60,000 action packs sent out by the HSE. This year free action packs will be available once again, containing anewsletter, posters, stickers, and general information. These will be available from the end of June by calling 0845 7181819. www.hse.gov.uk last_img read more

India lags behind on sexual rights

first_imgIndia lags behind on sexual rightsOn 1 Nov 2001 in Personnel Today With so many South Asian countries evolving their harassment laws Helen Roweexamines the changing times in India It is a situation almost every HR director dreads. A female employee claimsa male colleague has sexually harassed her. Initial inquiries reveal there maywell be a case to answer. An embarrassing and expensive court case looms. Worsestill, it looks likely to end in heavy compensation being awarded against theemployer. For HR practitioners in India, the situation is very different. Although theIndian constitution does set down certain rights relating to gender equality, thereare no specific laws banning sexual harassment at work. In fact, despite thehuge growth in cases brought by employees elsewhere globally, there remainsrelatively little pressure on Indian companies to prevent sexual harassment inthe workplace. However, two rulings by the Indian Supreme Court over the past five yearsappear to indicate that the status quo may be starting to change, albeit veryslowly. Although both rulings seem to have been widely ignored so far, theyhave implications for all employers operating in India. The first decision in 1997, Vishaka v State of Rajastan, set down a legallybinding requirement on all companies to provide female employees withprotection from harassment at work for the first time. It ruled that it was laying down “guidelines and norms for observanceat all workplaces” until such a time as legislation was enactedspecifically to deal with harassment at work. As a result of this ruling,employers are now – in theory – required to take preventative steps includingthe specific banning of sexual harassment in employee rules of conduct. Other measures required include the formation of a committee, headed by awoman, to which a female employee can complain. Employers must now automaticallyinitiate disciplinary action following a complaint, and, in some cases, alsocall in the police with a view to criminal proceedings. Measures should also be taken to ensure that a female employee who makes acomplaint does not experience any further harassment. In a second importantruling in 1999, Apparel Export Promotion Council v Chopra, the Supreme Courtthrew out a decision by the Delhi High Court. The Delhi court had directed thatan employee should not lose his job because his attempt to molest a woman wasunsuccessful and as a result there had been no actual physical contact. Thecase involved a male employee of the Delhi-based Apparel Export PromotionCouncil and a female employee at a hotel who had been sent to work for thecouncil’s chairman. The council employee was accused of attempting to “outrage themodesty” of the young woman, an offence covered by section 354 of theIndian penal code, rather than any specific legislation relating to theworkplace. A departmental inquiry was held which concluded that the employeewas guilty of gross misconduct and he was subsequently dismissed. On appeal, the Delhi High Court reversed the decision on the basis that theemployee’s attempt at molestation had not been successful. It ordered that hebe reinstated. The Supreme Court, however, was unimpressed. It criticised the Delhi court for allowing itself to be influenced by”insignificant discrepancies” and expressed surprise that “anemployee should be reinstated because he only tried to molest a woman”. It ruled that actual physical contact need not occur for someone to becharged with molestation, resulting in a redefinition of the term sexualharassment. Despite these two rulings, India continues to be a long way behindother regions in both protecting the rights of female employees and penalisingcompanies that fail to do so. But as more court cases are brought, there is likely to be increasingpressure to introduce policies that reduce liability. According tointernational law firm Baker & McKenzie, awards in those few cases thathave been brought tend to be on the low side in international terms – a mereUS$847 (40,000 rupees) in one case of a company found to have failed to preventa female employee being harassed by her manager. It advises companies to not only put in place the preventative measures nowrequired by law but also educate employees about what actually constitutessexual harassment in the eyes of the courts. “The Supreme Court’s decision in the Chopra case demonstrates anincreasing sensitivity towards sexual harassment and the fundamental rights ofwomen,” it says. “It also sends an unambiguous message to lower courts of theirobligation to protect the right of women to be free from sexual harassment inthe workplace. “As this trend continues to grow, more cases of sexual harassment arebound to be brought to trial and decided in favour of victims.” Othersbelieve that the real pressure to eradicate sexual harassment at work is morelikely to come from the boardroom than from the Indian courts. Jay Easwaran, HR director of the Tality Corporation, electronic productdesign specialists employing engineers in 14 locations worldwide includingDelhi, says the threat of legal action alone will not drive change. “If awoman were to complain of sexual harassment she would be very quicklyostracised by the male community in the office and they would make sure therewere not too many people taking her side,” he says. “The real pressure is likely to come from the top of enlightenedcompanies rather than the courts. For example, you tend to find that levels ofsexual harassment are low in multinational companies because they bring theirpolicies with them to India. That is what will drive it – the value system ofthe employer.” According to Sridevi Kalavakolanu, programme manager for Business for SocialResponsibility, employment law in all the South Asian countries is based onlaws left behind by the British and is only slowly evolving. He says efforts tointroduce reforms have been made throughout the region but have so far failedbecause of a lack of “political will to push the new laws through”. As a result of an amendment two years ago (1999) to Sri Lanka’s Trade UnionOrdinance 1956, it is now obligatory for employers to recognise a trade unionif it has a membership of 40 per cent or more among its workforce. Ifmembership is over 40 per cent the union must now be recognised in connectionwith general demands. If membership is less than 40 per cent the union mustrestrict itself to the voicing of individual grievances. Further informationwww.bakernet.comwww.tality.comwww.bsr.comwww.klegal.com Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. last_img read more

Employers cut overtime pay despite long hours

first_img Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Employers cut overtime pay despite long hoursOn 19 Feb 2002 in Personnel Today Four out of five employers have attempted to reduce paid overtime over thepast 12 months according to research by IRS Employment Review. The most common strategies used to achieve this include changes inmanagement techniques, technology and work practices The survey also reveals that at eight out of 10 firms, employees work unpaidovertime and this has increased in a quarter of companies over the past year. Nine out of 10 of the 150 organisations surveyed expect staff to put inextra hours at least occasionally. Jeremy Baugh, IRS Employment Review’s pay and benefits bulletin editor,believes overtime is not as controversial an issue in most workplaces as itonce was. “Apart from the cost implications, overtime has the potential to be anemotive and politically sensitive issue,” he said. “But our research suggests overtime is perceived as something of aneutral issue, with workers and managers generally agreeing it is not veryimportant. “This may explain why the Working Time Directive, which imposed a48-hour maximum, seems to have had little or no impact on overtimepractices” But Baugh warned if employers continue to reduce overtime payments or expectstaff to work extra hours for nothing, there could be a backlash. “The respondents to our survey report that their employees rarely workover 48 hours on a regular basis and where this does occur employees seemwilling to ‘opt out’. However, if the trend for longer hours worked andovertime payments reduced continues, this issue may become morecontroversial.” The research shows that time-and-a-half is the most common overtime rate forweekdays and Saturdays, and double time for Sundays and bank holidays. More than 90 per cent of respondents say the introduction of the EuropeanWorking Time Directive has had “little or no impact” on overtimepractices. www.irsemploymentreview.comBy Ben Willmottlast_img read more

Employers open to claims by gay staff

first_imgEmployers open to claims by gay staffOn 24 Jun 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Employers that don’t ensure protection for gay staff from harassment at workwill soon be vulnerable to discrimination claims, despite a House of Lordsruling last week. Under the ruling, a lesbian teacher, who claimed she was forced out of herjob because of homophobic harassment by pupils, lost her claim for sexualdiscrimination. The law lords ruled that because her treatment was the result of her sexualorientation and not her sex, it was not covered by the Sex Discrimination Act. However, David Gibson, of law firm Dickinson Dees, warned employers thatwhen new legislation comes into force in December outlawing discrimination onthe grounds of sexual orientation, they will be vulnerable to similar claims. last_img read more

Seven is a lucky number

first_img Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Sharon Collier, head of retail training at high street food retailerSomerfield Group, explains how a seven-step process is helping to instilcontinuous improvements at Kwik SavePerformance Improvement Training Designed and delivered by: Boxwood Group, 1200 Century Way, Thorpe Park,Colton, Leeds LS15 8ZA Phone: 0113 251 5111Fax: 0113 251 5555 E-mail: [email protected]: www.boxwoodgroup.comWhen the Somerfield Group first employed Boxwood eight months ago, we werelooking for assistance in taking a step change in performance within our KwikSave business. After an intense period of consultation between the two organisations,the resultant solution, Energise, is already reaping dividends. A key goal of the project is sustainable business improvement throughequipping Kwik Save employees with a universal method that allows us to walkinto any business situation and rapidly home in on opportunities forperformance improvement. We are taught how to size-up these opportunities, gaincommitment to taking action and how to turn ideas into bottom-line results. The training is helping to instill a culture of continuous improvement aimedat benefiting all aspects of the business’s operations such as shrinkage,availability and promotions and marketing. It is already giving us some great results, but why did we decide to‘energise’ our business and how did we do it? With 681 stores and over 16,000staff, Kwik Save is recognised as the UK’s biggest discount supermarketoffering customers quality in big, well-known brands, choice and value in highstreet locations. But with the intense nature of competition within the retail sector, werealised that Kwik Save needed to become more cost effective and to be able toinitiate projects that would produce exceptional results in short timeframes. This is easier said than done, but with Boxwood’s proprietary training tool,Process 7, we have been given a simple, universal approach that allows us torapidly assess a business situation, produce and sell a plan of action anddeliver measurable results. Staff from our support centre in Bristol attend a three-day residentialcourse to be taught Process 7, alongside divisional executives for Kwik Save’sregions. Training is delivered there on a monthly basis and progressivelyinvolves more staff. Boxwood head of learning Anthony Greenfield explains the procedure: “Wewere very keen to get people off site into a new environment where they wouldwork with colleagues from other areas of the business. This in itself wascrucial in creating strong working relationships with a diverse group of peopleacross the whole business,” he says. Role playing “A highlight of the course are the role plays. One involves a simpleorange juice bottling line used to give participants first-hand experience ofobserving a real process and interviewing production line staff, who are playedby the instructors. It is this sort of intervention that enables people to takeimmediate action to improve performance in their area of the business onreturning to the workplace,” he says. All of us who have been on the training course agree that it is tough andchallenging. It encourages people to abandon preconceptions about what ispossible in business performance improvement, and inspires them to adopt apositive self-belief in achieving goals beyond normal expectations. “Participants learn that success comes from a combination of gaining adeep understanding of processes and cost drivers, and bringing people on boardby involving them in the process,” adds Greenfield. “Managing thehuman side of change and working at pace are also critical. Ultimately, it allabout one thing – results. Achieving tangible business improvement is whatdrives the process from start to finish.” The first three steps of Process 7 are all about discovery. Our people weretaught how to unearth opportunities for business performance improvement, andthen how to create a compelling argument for taking action to realise them. Achieving consensus Steps four and five taught us about consensus, which Boxwood defines aseffective communication of business performance opportunities and gainingcommitment to delivering them. This part of Process 7 is vital. Without being able to gain consensus, allpreceding work is worthless. We take time to ensure that our teams understandhow to deal with resistance to change and how to gain commitment to a futurevision. Once consensus has been achieved, Process 7 moves into steps six and seven,mobilisation. This is about taking action with a positive ‘can do’ attitude andthen measuring the results. We want to develop a culture that is completely results-focused. This finalstep ensures the tangible and intangible benefits of all projects are measuredand monitored to ensure objectives are delivered and lessons learned. Through Process 7 we now have an easy-to-use, universal performanceimprovement tool which we can apply to any aspect of the Kwik Save business. Weare well on the way to developing a culture of continuous performanceimprovement. Collier’s verdictFood for thoughtThe energise training has had great feedback and generated some impressiveresults.  We are sure it will continueto do so.  One of the key goals of theproject is to establish the skills and tools for continuous improvement withinKwik Save and improving the three key areas of people, process and technology,will only have a positive effect.Ability to meet business needs   * * **Staff buy-in                               ** * *Flexibility                                  ** * *Overall rating                            ** * *Key * = disappointing * * * * * = excellent Seven is a lucky numberOn 1 Oct 2003 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Fair game for all

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Sportsemployers face the pitfalls of performance-related dismissal cases and shouldbring employee contracts up to current legislation, as Richard Keen reports recenthigh-profile case brought by two cricketers against Leicestershire CountyCricket Club should send a clear message to a wide range of employers abouttheir handling of performance-related dismissals.Therecent victory for professional cricketers Neil Burns and Carl Crowe in theirunfair dismissal case against Leicestershire Cricket Club has certainly causeda stir in the sports industry. Infact, so strong was the evidence in favour of the players, that the tribunalgave an indication of its likely finding part-way through the hearing. Thisresulted in an out-of-court settlement after only three-and-a-half days ofevidence.Burnsand Crowe were dismissed by Leicestershire Cricket Club at the end of the 2002cricket season. However, based on their performance during the 2002 season,both had received verbal assurances that their contracts would be renewed. Theclaim brought by the cricketers focused on two major issues – the way in whichmany sports employers still view employment in terms of seasons and the mannerof their dismissals. LeicestershireCricket Club employed players on a series of standard English Cricket Boardfixed-term seasonal contracts that begin in April and last until September. Burnsand Crowe argued that their continuity of service was, in reality, for theentire 12 months. After all, a sports professional is a sports professional allyear round – off-season training being just as important as playing for a teamduring a season – and sports contracts ought to reflect this reality ofemployment. However,this is not just a relevant issue for the sports industry – it can apply to anyemployer of seasonal staff. For example, entertainment, leisure, education andagriculture are all sectors that rely on their employment of staff on aseasonal contract basis. But, Section 212 (3) of the Employment Rights Act 1996states that if employees are absent “on account of a temporary cessation ofwork” or “by arrangement or custom”, then the period of employment cessationcan count towards an employee’s continuity of service and thus enables them tohave full employment rights.Therefore,if Burns and Crowe had their 12-month continuity of service upheld, it wouldallow them to bring unfair dismissal claims against Leicestershire for thesecond issue – the way in which they were dismissed.Bothplayers had been dismissed at the end of the season, at a time when most othercounty teams had already picked their players for the following year. This madeit impossible for Burns and Crowe to secure another first-class cricketcontract for 2003 – something that had obvious implications on theirlivelihood. Burnshad even specifically written into his own contract that Leicestershire wouldreview whether it was going to retain him by 14 July 2002. This would then givehim enough time to get another job should Leicestershire choose not to renew. AppraisalsBothplayers argued that they should have been treated like any other employee andbeen given proper appraisals and warnings of dismissal if they were notperforming to the standard expected. Thekey to the tribunal victory was that basic employment rights transcend allindustries – an under-performing sports player has the same rights as anunder-performing sales executive. When it comes to dismissing an employeebecause of poor performance, legislation, of which the Employment Act 2002 isthe latest, expects employers to have a fair and proper procedure in place thatcentres on periodic appraisal. Ifthe employee is not performing against fair expectation then he/she must beinformed at the appraisal and allowed a reasonable period of time to improvetheir performance, after which a further appraisal can review whether the newperformance targets have been met. Ifthe employee is still under-performing, dismissal may have to be considered, inwhich case the employee must be permitted a fair period of time to make a finaleffort to recover the situation. At all times, the employee must be made fullyaware of what is happening and where they stand.Theinteresting factor in the Burns and Crowe case was that Leicestershire couldnot actually claim poor performance by either player because of their excellentrecords. Instead, they argued that the dismissals were fair for “some othersubstantial reason” (Section 98 of the Employment Rights Act) – that a cricketteam must be able to improve its playing squad as it sees fit without having tolook over its shoulder to justify the fairness of its judgement that player Ais better than player B. Thecase therefore raised a further issue of whether or not cricketers could bedismissed simply because their employer thought there was a better player toreplace them. Employment legislation does not allow any employer to dismiss anemployee just because a better candidate comes up. Therefore, Leicestershire’sargument did not find favour with the tribunal. Inconclusion, this case is relevant to all companies whether employing full-time,temporary or seasonal contract staff. Companies that do not have formalperformance appraisal procedures, or whose procedures do not satisfy currentlegislation, run a greater risk of being sued for unfair dismissal.Justas important is ensuring that all senior managers understand and followappraisal procedures to the letter. These are basic legal requirements thatapply to all companies – no matter what industry they operate in.RichardKeen is managing partner and head of employment at Owen White Solicitors andadvised Neil Burns and Carl Crowe throughout their case Fair game for allOn 1 Nov 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. last_img read more

Manhattan’s condos get year-end sales boost as inventory balloons

first_imgTagsManhattanNYC Luxury MarketResidential Real Estate Condo sales over $5 million surged in Manhattan in the final quarter of 2020 (iStock)Manhattan homebuyers are back.Condo sales in the final quarter of 2020 jumped nearly 39 percent to 1,909, according to Douglas Elliman’s quarterly report on closed condo and co-op sales. The total compared to the third quarter, when there were 1,375 condo sales in Manhattan. High-end home sales also jumped.While transaction volume is still down nearly 21 percent year-over-year, it has improved since the beginning of the pandemic. In the third quarter, deals were down 46 percent year-over-year. That compared to Q2, when the number of sales dropped more than 54 percent year-over-year, marking the sharpest decline in 30 years.Appraiser Jonathan Miller, who authors the Elliman’s report, emphasized the significance of the October through December gains, noting the seasonal expectation for sales in the fourth quarter, based on 20 years of data, is an 11 percent drop.“It’s going against the grain,” he said.Read more“I don’t buy that NY is dead”: Naftali, Seinfeld team up on billboard“A garbage year”: The state of Manhattan’s luxury resi market in 2020Manhattan home sales down 46% last quarter Full Name* Email Address* Share via Shortlinkcenter_img Message* A surprising bright spot in the report was a surge in high-end condo sales.The number of condos that sold for $5 million jumped 36 percent year-over-year, to 113. Meanwhile, the number of condos that sold for less than $5 million slid by about 16 percent year-over-year, to 789.“I have to say I myself am surprised,” said Pam Liebman, CEO and president of the Corcoran Group, which reported similar fourth quarter results. “I think high-end brokers are feeling good right now.”She also highlighted the increasing volume of signed contracts throughout the quarter, which could roll into early 2021. Beginning in October, the firm reported a 10 percent year-over-year increase in signed contracts; November saw an 8 percent jump; and in December there was a 3 percent uptick.“It just goes to show you the resiliency of New York,” Liebman said. “So for those that counted New York out, sorry you lost.”But just because Manhattan’s deal volume is improving, doesn’t mean all is well.Price discounts have reached their highest levels in a decade, according to a fourth quarter report from Ryan Serhant’s new brokerage, Serhant. The report is based on market-wide data. Across the borough, the average discount on closed sales from initial asking price was 10.4 percent. For new development condos, the average discount was 8.7 percent.For higher-priced units, the gap gets wider. The discount for homes listed over $10 million was 23 percent, while for new development condos it was 25 percent.Then there’s the vast supply of condos and co-ops for sale in Manhattan. That total has also reached the highest level in a decade, with about 9,550 homes listed for sale. That’s 28 percent above the number from a year ago, according to Serhant’s head of research Garrett Derderian. (There are 18,000 unsold units when taking into account shadow inventory — units that aren’t officially listed on the market.)Derderian said that at the current sales pace, it would take 6.6 years for the units to be sold.“There’s a lot of inventory out there,” he said.Correction: An earlier version of this article misrepresented Manhattan listed inventory as inclusive of shadow inventory.Contact Erin Hudson Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlinklast_img read more

Newmark earnings fell 37% in 2020

first_imgIn fact, Knotel CEO Amol Sarva in 2018 said his company would no longer hire CBRE after the brokerage launched its own short-term office company.Gosin said he thinks Knotel can be a service to Newmark’s landlords and clients. He added that it was too early to tell if the flex-office provider is a long-term hold for them, or an investment Newmark will look to exit once the company is stabilized.As for Newmark’s own results, adjusted EBITDA for 2020 fell 36.6 percent year-over-year to $357.7 million. Fourth-quarter earnings fell 34.3 percent from a year earlier to $171.7 million, led by a 45 percent drop in revenues from leasing commissions.If there was a bright spot, though, it was in the company’s capital markets and mortgage-banking activities. Revenues from capital markets grew more than 15 percent in the fourth quarter, even as the overall market saw a decline. Mortgage-banking revenues doubled in the quarter to $100 million.Contact Rich Bockmann Tags Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Newmark CEO Barry M Gosin (Newmark, Getty) If Newmark Group goes ahead with its planned acquisition of Knotel, does that make the commercial real estate services firm a competitor to its landlord clients?“Just the opposite,” CEO Barry Gosin said during the company’s fourth quarter earnings call Thursday morning, throwing cold water on the notion that buying the struggling short-term office company out of bankruptcy creates a conflict of interest for Newmark. “We see it as a benefit and an opportunity.”Knotel has struggled to pay rent amid the pandemic and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this month. Newmark, which invested in Knotel in 2018, is providing the company with $20 million in debtor-in-possession financing and plans to acquire the firm out of bankruptcy.That would put Newmark in the business of renting short-term space to tenants, creating a potential conflict with landlords or other flex-space firms that hire Newmark as a broker.Read moreKnotel files for bankruptcy, set to be bought by NewmarkSeismic shifts in the flex-office marketNewmark Group rejects Cushman & Wakefield takeover offer Message* Share via Shortlink Full Name* Email Address* KnotelNewmark Knight Franklast_img read more

January home prices up 10% in biggest annual gain in 7 years

first_img Full Name* (iStock/Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)If January is any indication, the housing market isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.CoreLogic Home Price Index, which tracks national home prices monthly, showed prices were 10 percent higher in January than a year ago. It’s the first time since November 2013 that the index has reported double-digit annual growth.The index is seen as an early indicator of home pricing trends.Read moreUS home prices jump 10.4% in best year since 2013Home sales, prices rose in January as inventory hit new lowHome mortgage applications fall as rates, prices rise Share via Shortlink Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink No states had an annual decline in prices. The largest price growth was in Idaho, 21 percent; Montana, 17.4 percent; Indiana, 15.3 percent; and Maine, 15.3 percent.ADVERTISEMENTMonth-over-month, January’s gains were less impressive, with a 0.9 percent increase compared to December.The price growth comes as housing inventory is at historically low levels and prices are rising as demand continues to be strong.But CoreLogic warns that persistent demand could decline in coming months. A February survey of Americans who do not own homes found that 76 percent have no plans to buy in the next six months. Still, most economists expect demand to continue and, citing the lack of homes on the market, say prices will continue to climb.Fitch Ratings, however, noted that the shortage of available homes is artificially inflating the value of homes. The rating agency estimates that U.S. home prices are more than 5 percent higher than economic conditions justify.Contact Erin Hudson Email Address* Tags Message* Housing MarketMortgagesResidential Real Estatelast_img read more

City board considers rent hike in preliminary vote

first_img Message* Full Name* RGB chair David Reiss (iStock, Brooklyn Law)Landlords called for a 5 percent hike; tenants groups, a 5 percent roll back. The Rent Guidelines Board didn’t quite meet them in the middle.In a preliminary vote Wednesday night, the city board approved a proposal to increase rents on stabilized apartments and lofts by 0 to 2 percent on one-year leases and 1 to 3 percent on two-year leases. Last year, the board froze rents to alleviate the pandemic’s impact on renters.The proposal, introduced by Chair David Reiss also called for a rent freeze on rent-stabilized hotels, approved with a 7 to 2 vote.The initial vote provides a window into which direction the nine-person board — composed of two landlord, two tenant and five public representatives — will lean in the final vote June 23. Tenant representative Sheila Garcia, director of Community Action for Safe Apartments, called it a temperature check — though in her eight years on the board, they’ve never voted outside of the range of a preliminary decision, she said.ADVERTISEMENTRent adjustments on stabilized apartments would apply to leases signed on or after Oct. 1, 2021.Read moreLandlords seek up to 5% rent hike on stabilized apartmentsCity rent board missing landlord rep ahead of preliminary voteRent-stabilized housing income fell for the first time in 15 years: report Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Tags Email Address* Ahead of the vote, landlord representatives pushed for a 2.75 percent lift on one-year leases and 5.75 percent for two-year leases, a percent increase that meshed with the 3 percent jump in operating expenses the board found in their operating costs report for 2021. The ask was also in line with increases proposed by the Rent Stabilization Association.“The RGB is ignoring its own research data showing that landlords’ operating costs rose again — property taxes alone increased by 3.9 percent,” said RSA President Joseph Strasburg. He added that tenants have received stimulus checks and unemployment while landlords have received nothing.Scott Walsh, owner representative and a project director at Lendlease used his time on the floor to highlight the high vacancies and operating costs that plagued landlords in 2020 and increased inflation rates to come. The board dismissed his proposal with a 2 to 7 vote.Tenant representative Garcia said the federal relief doled out this past year hasn’t been sufficient to buoy the 600,000 New Yorkers her organization estimates are struggling with unpaid rent.“It is not lighter because people receive some checks if they’re making $15,000 a year,” Garcia said, calling for a rent roll back of as low as 3 percent for one-year leases.Garcia, whose proposal was likewise shot down 2 to 7, said she didn’t expect the motion to pass. She included a negative figure to let the public know a rent cut was on the table for discussion next month. Tenant Groups like the Rent Justice Coalition had called for a 5 percent rent cut, citing the hardship of tenants, even as landlords were set to receive $2.4 billion in rent relief.“They’re getting their money,” said Andrea Shapiro, a director at the tenant group Metropolitan Council on Housing. “Tenants are still unemployed.”Still, Shapiro said she would be happy with a freeze on one-year leases, saying it does the least harm.Landlord representatives had been absent from recent meetings, with Walsh a no-show and one seat left unfilled after the departure of Rosenberg & Estis attorney Patti Stone.Mayor Bill de Blasio this morning appointed Robert Ehrlich, attorney at Lazarus Karp, LLP, to the position. Ehrlich told The Real Deal that he wasn’t familiar with the proposals his co-representative planned to lay out a few hours ahead of the meeting.The vote came with no word from the mayor, who called for a rent freeze ahead of the board’s decision last year.Contact Suzannah Cavanaugh Share via Shortlink breakingRent Guidelines BoardRental Marketlast_img read more