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Panel OKs 2 to 3.5 percent rent hikes in Nassau

The Nassau County Rent Guidelines Board is repeating last year's hikes of 2 and 3 1/2 percent, respectively, for one- and two-year apartment leases.

The rent increase announcement, which came last week, had been caught up in a previous fight between tenants and the board over a court ruling.

The rent year runs from the end of September to Oct. 1 of the following year.

Board president Michael Miller did not return calls for comment.

But Jeanwood Sessions, a Hempstead tenant advocate, said she was disappointed by the increases.

"They should have frozen them at last year's rate," she said. "The landlords cry about not making the profits of five years ago, but many of us tenants are making less pay than we were five years ago."

Still, Sessions said it was an increase tenants could live with.

Richard Rush, head of the Apartment House Council of Nassau County, said it was an increase landlords could live with, too, for similar reasons.

"First, it's what the law calls for when no new rents have been set and, second, it keeps things simple - no retroactive anything," he said. "Still, it was a little low, based on research."

The board annually sets allowable rent increases for about 13,000 units in 22 county municipalities, including Hempstead, Rockville Centre, Valley Stream, Great Neck, Port Washington, Mineola, Glen Cove and Long Beach.

The apartments come under the state's Emergency Tenant Protection Act, established in 1974. No Suffolk municipality opted into the program.

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