The New Rules of the Game
New York Times, June 20, 1997
The New Rules of the GameHere are highlights of the rent regulation legislation that state lawmakers approved last night.
Expired Rules New Rules Rent Increases for Vacancy Landlords in 1996 were allowed to increase rent by 14 to 16 percent, depending on whether the new tenant signed a one- or two-year lease, after the previous tenant moved or died. Landlords may increase rent at least 20 percent on a two-year lease after a tenant moves or dies. Additional increases will be allowed if the previous tenant lived there at least eight years or if that tenantís rent was very low. Rent Increases for Renovation Landlords may raise the monthly rent of a vacant unit by $1 for every $40 spent on renovations. No change. Timing of Deregulation Vacated apartments that would rent for $2,000 or more, after rent increases stemming from the vacancy bonus and from renovation, would be deregulated after the next vacancy. Vacated apartments that would rent for $2,000 or more, after rent increases stemming from the vacancy bonus and from renovation, would be deregulated immediately. Luxury Decontrol Units rented by tenants with a household income of $250,000 or more each year for two consecutive years and who pay at least $2,000 rent would be deregulated. Lowers income threshold to $175,000, but keeps the same $2,000 rent threshold. Landlord-Tenant Disputes Disputes can take years, during which tenants often do not have to pay rent. Tenants must, in most cases, place rent into escrow accounts during a dispute. Succession Rights Tenants can pass on regulated apartments to relatives and unmarried domestic partners. Tenants can no longer pass apartments to aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews or cousins. Succession would be limited to one generation. Demolition Legal barriers make it difficult for landlords to remove a holdout tenant from a building. An owner of a building with very few occupants may demolish it if he or she relocates the tenants to comparable apartments.