Rent Law Facts
NY Daily News, June 17, 1997What Tenants Got
- Rent Regulations — All current tenants, except high-income earners, keep protection against steep rent hikes and evictions.
- Leases — Rights to automatic renewal of oneor two-year leases remain intact.
- Vacancies — Rent-stabilized apartments remain under state rent regulations even when a tenant moves out, dies or is evicted.
- Harassment — Landlords who harass tenants by cutting off services such as or hot water could face felony charges and a four-year prison term.
What Landlords Got
- Vacancies — 20% rent hike for a new, two-year lease on a vacant apartment up from 16%. A slightly lower rent hike for a new, one-year lease on a vacant unit. About 134,000 rent-stabilized apartments become vacant each year.
- Vacancy Bonus — An extra rent hike for apartments vacated by tenants of eight years or longer duration. Bonus equals .6% for every year the tenant was in the apartment. For example, if a tenant lived in the unit for 10 years, the landlord would get a 6% bonus increase.
- Low Cost Units — A $100 monthly rent hike for vacant apartments where the prior tenant paid $300 or less, in addition to vacancy bonuses. The extra hike covers 64,069 units citywide. Owners get $100 or the vacancy bonuses, whichever is greater, if the prior tenant paid between $300 and $500.
- Luxury Decontrol — Tenants whose household income totals $175,000 and whose rent is $2,000 or more lose rent protection. This covers 1,286 Manhattan units, about .1% of all rent-stabilized apartments citywide.
- Succession — Apartment inheritance rights limited to one generation, unless a relative pays new vacancy increases. Nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins lose succession rights unless they can prove emotional and financial interdependence with the main tenant.
- Escrow — Tenants must put rent into escrow account during court disputes with landlords. In buildings with 12 or fewer units, tenants must pay the undisputed portion of the rent to the landlord and put the rest in escrow.
- New Construction — All apartment construction built after the law takes effect is exempt from future rent regulation unless the developer opts into a government housing program.
- Demolition — Landlords who want to demolish buildings where three or fewer tenants still live can relocate those tenants to comparable apartments. Applies as long as at least 90% of the apartments are already vacant.