DHCR FACT SHEET #1
Division of Housing and Community Renewal
RENT CONTROL and RENT STABILIZATION
The rent control program generally applies to residential
buildings constructed before February 1947 in municipalities that
have not declared an end to the postwar rental housing emergency.
A total of 51 municipalities have rent control, including New
York City, Albany, Buffalo and various cities, towns, and
villages in Albany, Erie, Nassau, Rensselaer, Schenectady, and
For an apartment to be under rent control, the tenant must have
been living there continuously since before July 1, 1971. When a
rent controlled apartment becomes vacant, it either becomes rent
stabilized or is removed from regulation. Formerly controlled
apartments may have been decontrolled on various other grounds.
Rent control limits the rent an owner may charge for an apartment
and restricts the right of an owner to evict tenants. It also
obligates the owner to provide essential services and equipment.
[See Fact Sheet on Required and Essential Services]
Outside NYC, the NYS Division of Housing and Community Renewal
(DHCR) determines maximum allowable rates of rent increases.
Owners may apply for these increases every two years.
In NYC, rent control operates under the Maximum Base Rent (MBR)
system. A maximum base rent is established for each apartment and
is adjusted every two years to reflect changes in operating
costs. Owners who certify that they are providing essential
services and have removed violations can raise rents by 7.5% each
year until they reach the MBR limit. Tenants may challenge the
proposed increase on the grounds that: the building has
violations; the owner's expenses do not warrant an increase; or
the owner is not maintaining essential services.
Both in NYC and elsewhere, rents can also be increased in other
ways: (1) it the owner increases services or substantially
rehabilitates a building, or installs a major capital
improvement; (2) hardship; (3) high labor costs; (4) in NYC, fuel
Rents may be decreased in certain cases by DHCR. Such cases
include: substantial, uncorrected code violations; reduction in
services including facilities, space or equipment.
The law prohibits harassment of rent regulated tenants. Owners
found guilty of intentional actions to force a tenant to leave an
apartment or otherwise surrender their rights can be denied
decontrol and lawful rent increases, and may also be fined.
In NYC, rent stabilized apartments are those apartments in
buildings of six or more units built between February 1, 1947 and
January 1, 1974. Tenants in buildings built before February 1,
1947, who moved in after June 30, 1971 are also covered by rent
stabilization A third category of rent stabilized apartments
covers buildings with three or more apartments constructed or
extensively renovated since 1974 with special tax benefits
Generally, these buildings are stabilized only while the tax
Outside NYC, rent stabilization applies to non rent controlled
apartments in buildings of six or more units built before January
1, 1974 in the localities that adopted the Emergency Tenant
Protection Act (ETPA) in Nassau, Westchester and Rockland
counties. Some municipalities limit ETPA to buildings of a
specific size but never less than six
The local Rent Guidelines Boards (in NYC, Nassau, Westchester,
and Rockland counties) set maximum rates for rent increases once
a year and are effective for leases beginning on or after October
1st of each year.
Like rent control, stabilization provides other protections to
tenants besides rent regulation. Tenants are entitled to receive
required services. to have their leases renewed, and may not be
evicted except on grounds allowed by law. Leases may be entered
into and renewed for one or two year terms at the tenant's
If the tenant's rights are violated, DHCR can reduce rents and
levy civil penalties on the owner. Rents may be reduced if
services are not maintained. In cases of overcharges, DHCR may
assess penalties of interest or, in the case of willful
overcharges, treble damages payable to the tenant. The ETPA also
provides for substantial penalties for tenant harassment.
The Omnibus Housing Act required owners to initially register
(with DHCR) the rent and services for all rent stabilized
apartments that were occupied on April 1,1984 by June 30,1984.
Owners were required to send a copy of the registration to
tenants, who had 90 days to challenge the information provided by
the owner. If a tenant challenges the rent and the challenge is
upheld, DHCR will order a refund of any overcharges, plus
interest or three times the damages.
For buildings and apartments subject to Rent Stabilization after
1984, owners must initially register all apartments within 90
days after they become subject to rent stabilization and each
year after or they will be denied rent increases. Owners must
provide tenants with a copy of the annual registration.
DHCR Fact Sheets (series of thirty) are issued by the New York
State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) as plain-
english informational publications. For official agency
policies, see DHCR Policy Statements, Advisory Opinions and
Operational Bulletins. Also refer to the Rent Stabilization Code,
the Rent Stabilization Law and various Rent Control Statutes.
Electronic versions of these documents on TenantNet are for
informational purposes only and there is no guarantee they will
be accepted by any court (or even DHCR) as true copies of DHCR
policy. The reader may obtain true copies of these documents from
Every attempt has been made to conform to the original Fact
Sheets as issued by DHCR; TenantNet makes no
representation the enclosed material is current or will be
applied as written. The reader is advised that DHCR often fails
to properly apply, interpret or enforce housing laws. Since
housing laws are complex and often contradictory, it is
recommended the reader obtain competent legal advice from a
tenant attorney or counseling from a tenant association or
community group. (rev. 3/13/96) DHCR documents
are public documents; the electronic version of such documents
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For more information or assistance, call the DHCR Rent Infoline
at (718) 739-6400, or visit your Borough Rent Office.
Queens Central Office
92-31 Union Hall St. 4th Fl.
Jamaica, NY 11433
One Fordham Plaza
Bronx, NY 10458
250 Schermerhorn St.
Brooklyn, NY 11201
156 William Street
NY, NY 10038
(212) 240-6011, 6012
South side of 110th St. and below
163 W. 125th St.
NY, NY 10027
North side of 110th St. and above
350 St. Mark's Place
Staten island, NY 10301
Nassau County District Rent Office
50 Clinton Street, 6th Floor
Hempstead, NY 11550
Westchester County District Rent Office
55 Church Street, 3rd Floor
White Plains, NY 10601
Rockland County District Rent Office
94-96 North Main St.
Spring Valley, NY 10977
Albany Regional Office
119 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12210
Buffalo Regional Office
Ellicot Square Building
295 Main St., Room 438
Buffalo, NY 14203