George E. Pataki, Governor Joseph H. Holland, Commissioner
A publication of New York State
Division of Housing and Community Renewal
Office of Rent Administration
Fact Sheet #1 - 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 in that apartment continuously since before July
1, 1971. When a rent controlled apartment becomes vacant, it
either becomes rent stabilized, or, if it is in a building with
fewer than six units, it is generally removed from regulation.
An apartment in a one- or two-family house must have a tenant in
continuous occupancy since March 31, 1953 in order to be subject
to rent control. Once it is vacated after that date, it is no
longer subject to regulation. Previously 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 #3, on "Required and Essential
Services," for additional information on this topic.
Outside New York City, the New York State Division of Housing
and Community Renewal (DHCR) determines maximum allowable rates
of rent increases under rent control. Owners may apply for these
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 may raise rents by
up to 7.5% each year until the MBR limit is reached. Tenants may
challenge the 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. See Fact Sheet
#22, "Maximum Base Rent Program" for additional information.
Rents may be increased in other ways: (1) if the owner
increases services or substantially rehabilitates a building or
installs a major capital improvement; (2) hardship; (3) increased
labor costs; (4) in NYC, increased fuel costs (passalongs).
Rents may be decreased in certain cases by DHCR. Such cases
include: substantial, uncorrected code violations and reductions
in services including facilities, space or equipment, or
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 of six or more units 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 benefits continue.
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 fewer than six units. Stabilization
also applies to formerly rent controlled apartments located in
ETPA localities where the unit was vacated on or after June 30,
The local Rent Guidelines Boards in NYC and in Nassau,
Westchester, and Rockland counties set maximum rates for rent
increases once a year which are effective for leases beginning on
or after October 1st of each year.
The Rent Regulation Reform Act of 1993 (RRRA) provides for the
deregulation of apartments with legal rents of $2,000 or more at
any time between July 7, 1993 and October 1, 1993 that were or
become vacant on or after July 7, 1993. In New York City, Local
Law No. 4 of 1994 further provided for deregulation for
apartments with legal rents of $2,000 or more at any time which
were or become vacant on or after April 1, 1994.
Both the RRRA and Local Law No. 4 in NYC further provide for
deregulation of high rent apartments occupied by high income
tenants. In New York City, Local Law No. 4 provides for
deregulation of apartments whenever the legal rent for those
apartments reach $2,000 or more and are occupied by tenants with
an income in excess of $250,000 in each of the two successive
years prior to the owner's application for deregulation. Outside
NYC, the RRRA provides for the deregulation of apartments with
legal rents of $2,000 or more on October 1, 1993 which are
occupied by tenants who either at that time or at a later date
have an income in excess of $250,000 in each of the two years
preceding the owner's application. See Operational Bulletin
95-3, "Implementing Rent Regulation Reform Act of 1993 and New
York City Local Law 1994, No.4", for more details.
Like rent control, stabilization provides other protections
to tenants besides limitations on rents. Tenants are entitled to
receive required services and to have their leases renewed,
and may not be evicted except on grounds allowed by law.
Leases must be entered into and renewed for one- or two-year
terms, at the tenant's choice.
If the tenant's rights are violated, DHCR may reduce rents
and impose 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 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 serve a copy of the registration upon
tenants, who had 90 days to challenge the information provided by
the owner. For apartments becoming subject to rent stabilization
after 1984, owners must initially register all apartments within
90 days after they become subject to rent stabilization. Tenants
may file a challenge to the initial registration concerning the
rent of formerly rent controlled apartments now becoming subject
to rent stabilization for the first time. This challenge is
known as a "Fair Market Rent Appeal." For further information,
see Fact Sheet #6, "Fair Market Rent Appeals."
Owners are also required to register annually or they may be
denied rent increases. Owners must provide tenants with a copy of
the annual registration.
For more information or assistance, call the DHCR Rent
InfoLine (718) 739-6400, or visit your Borough or County Rent
92-31 Union Hall Street
Jamaica, NY 11433
250 Schermerhorn Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
163 W. 125th Street
New York, NY 10027
North side of 110th St. and above
50 Clinton Street
Hempstead, NY 11550
55 Church Street
White Plains, NY 10601
156 William Street
New York, NY 10038
South side of 110th St. and below
1 Fordham Plaza
Bronx, NY 10458
60 Bay Street
Staten Island, NY 10301
94-96 North Main Street
Spring Valley, NY 10977