New York Rent Laws
EHRCL Table of Contents

The Emergency Housing Rent Control Law of 1961 [EHRCL]

Section 2. DEFINITIONS. When used in this act, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context, the following terms shall mean and include: 1. "Commission". Prior to July first, nineteen hundred sixty- four, the temporary state housing rent commission created by this act. On and after July first, nineteen hundred sixty- four, the division of housing and community renewal in the executive department. 2. "Housing accommodation." Any building or structure, permanent or temporary, or any part thereof, occupied or intended to be occupied by one or more individuals as a residence, home, sleeping place, boarding house, lodging house or hotel, together with the land and buildings appurtenant thereto, and all services, privileges, furnishings, furniture and facilities supplied in connection with the occupation thereof, including (a) entire structures or premises as distinguished from the individual housing accommodations contained therein, wherein twenty-five or less rooms are rented or offered for rent by any lessee, sublessee or other tenant of such entire structure or premises, and (b) housing accommodations which were previously exempt, or not subject to control as a result of conversion or a change from a non-housing to a housing use and which have subsequently been certified by a municipal department having jurisdiction to be a fire hazard or in a continued dangerous condition or detrimental to life or health but only so long as such illegal or hazardous condition continues and further certification with respect thereto shall not be required notwithstanding any inconsistent provision of this act, and any plot or parcel of land which had been rented prior to May first, nineteen hundred fifty, for the purpose of permitting the tenant thereof to construct or place his own dwelling thereon, unless exempt or excluded from control pursuant to any other provision of this act, except that it shall not include structures in which all of the housing accommodations are exempt or not subject to control under this act or any regulation issued thereunder; or (a) a hospital, convent, monastery, asylum, public institution, or college or school dormitory or any institution operated exclusively for charitable or educational purposes on a non-profit basis; or (b) notwithstanding any previous order, finding, opinion or determination of the commission, housing accommodations in any establishment which on March first, nineteen hundred fifty, was and still is commonly regarded as a hotel in the community in which it is located and which customarily provides hotel services such as maid service, furnishing and laundering of linen, telephone and secretarial or desk service, use and upkeep of furniture and fixtures and bellboy service, provided, however, that the term hotel shall not include any establishment which is commonly regarded in the community as a rooming house, nor shall it include any establishment not identified or classified as a "hotel", "transient hotel" or "residential hotel" pursuant to the federal act, irrespective whether such establishment provides either some services customarily provided by hotels, or is represented to be a hotel, or both; and provided further that housing accommodations in hotels only within the cities of Buffalo and New York which have been and still are occupied by a tenant who has resided in such hotel continuously since December second, nineteen hundred forty-nine, so long as such tenant occupies the same, shall continue to remain subject to control under this act; or (c) any motor court, or any part thereof; any trailer, or trailer space used exclusively for transient occupancy or any part thereof; or any tourist home serving transient guests exclusively, or any part thereof; or (d) nonhousekeeping, furnished housing accommodations, located within a single dwelling unit not used as a rooming or boarding house, but only if (1) no more than two tenants for whom rent is paid (husband and wife being considered one tenant for this purpose), not members of the landlord's immediate family live in such dwelling unit, and (2) the remaining portion of such dwelling unit is occupied by the landlord or his immediate family; or (e) housing accommodations operated by the United States, the state of New York, or any political subdivision thereof, or by any municipal or public authority, only so long as they are so operated; or housing accommodations in buildings in which rentals are fixed by or subject to the supervision of the commissioner of housing and community renewal pursuant to powers granted under laws other than the emergency housing rent control law; (f) housing accommodations in buildings operated exclusively for charitable purposes on a non-profit basis; or (g) housing accommodations which were completed on or after February first, nineteen hundred forty-seven, provided, however, that maximum rents established under the veterans emergency housing act for priority constructed housing accommodations completed on or after February first, nineteen hundred forty-seven, shall continue in full force and effect, if such accommodations are being rented to veterans of World War II or their immediate families, who, on June thirtieth, nineteen hundred forty-seven, either occupied such housing accommodations or had a right to occupy such housing accommodations at any time on or after July first, nineteen hundred forty-seven, under any agreement whether written or oral; or which are (1) housing accommodations created by a change from a non-housing to a housing use on or after February first, nineteen hundred forty-seven, or which are (2) additional housing accommodations, other than rooming house accommodations, created by conversion on or after February first, nineteen hundred forty-seven; provided, however, that any housing accommodations created as a result of any conversion of housing accommodations on or after May first, nineteen hundred fifty, shall continue to be subject to rent control as provided for herein unless the commission issues an order decontrolling them which it shall do if there has been a structural change involving substantial alterations or remodeling and such change has resulted in additional housing accommodations consisting of self- contained family units as defined by regulations issued by the commission; provided further, however, that such order of decontrol shall not apply to that portion of the original housing accommodation occupied by a tenant in possession at the time of the conversion but only so long as that tenant continues in occupancy; and provided further, that no such order of decontrol shall be issued unless such conversion occurred after the entire structure, or any lesser portion thereof as may have been thus converted, was vacated by voluntary surrender of possession or in the manner provided in section five of this act; or (h) housing accommodations which are rented after April first, nineteen hundred fifty-three, and have been continuously occupied by the owner thereof for a period one year prior to the date of renting; provided, however, that this paragraph shall not apply where the owner acquired possession of the housing accommodation after the issuance of a certificate of eviction under subdivision two of section five of this act within the two year period immediately preceding the date of such renting, and provided further, that this exemption shall remain effective only so long as the housing accommodations are not occupied for other than single family occupancy; or (i) housing accommodations which become vacant provided, however, that this exemption shall not apply or become effective where the commission determines or finds that the housing accommodations became vacant because the landlord or any person acting on his behalf, with intent to cause the tenant to vacate, engaged in any course of conduct (including, but not limited to, interruption or discontinuance of essential services) which interfered with or disturbed or was intended to interfere with or disturb the comfort, repose, peace or quiet of the tenant in his use or occupancy of the housing accommodations; and further provided that housing accommodations as to which a housing emergency has been declared pursuant to the emergency tenant protection act of nineteen seventy-four shall be subject to the provisions of such act for the duration of such emergency; or (j) housing accommodations (not otherwise exempt or excluded from control) in two family houses occupied in whole or in part by the owner thereof, and in one family houses whether or not so occupied, on and after July first, nineteen hundred fifty-five, in the counties of Monroe, Nassau, Oneida, Onondaga and Schenectady, and, on and after July first, nineteen hundred fifty-seven, any housing accommodations in the county of Onondaga containing four rental units or less, provided, however, that this exemption with respect to one and two family houses shall remain effective only so long as the housing accommodations are not occupied for other than single family occupancy, and provided further, however, that this exemption shall become or remain effective in any city or town within the counties of Monroe, Oneida or Schenectady subject to the provisions of subdivision four of section twelve hereof providing for the continuance or reestablishment of controls with respect to such housing accommodations therein; or (k) housing accommodations (not otherwise exempt or excluded from control) elsewhere than in the city of New York, except housing accommodations used as boarding houses or rooming houses in the county of Westchester, which are or become vacant on or after July first, nineteen hundred fifty-seven, provided, however, that this exemption shall not apply or become effective in any case where the vacancy in the housing accommodations occurred or occurs because of the removal of the tenant to another housing accommodation in the same building, or because of the eviction of the tenant after the issuance of a final order in a summary proceeding to recover possession of the housing accommodation, whether after a trial of the issues or upon the consent or default of the tenant or otherwise without a trial, and provided, further, however that this exemption shall become effective in any city or town subject to the provisions of subdivision five of section twelve hereof providing for the continuance of control with respect to such housing accommodations, and provided further, that this exemption shall remain effective only so long as the housing accommodations are not occupied for other than single family occupancy. (l) housing accommodations which are not occupied by the tenant in possession as his primary residence provided, however, that any such housing accommodation shall continue to be subject to rent control as provided herein unless the commission issues an order decontrolling such accommodation which the commission shall do upon application by the landlord, whenever it is established by any facts and circumstances which, in the judgment of the commission, may have a bearing upon the question of residence, that the tenant maintains his primary residence at some place other than at such housing accommodation. (m) upon the issuance of an order of decontrol by the division, housing accommodations which: (1) are occupied by persons who have a total annual income in excess of two hundred fifty thousand dollars in each of the two preceding calendar years, as defined in and subject to the limitations and process set forth in section two-a of this law; and (2) have a maximum rent of two thousand dollars or more per month as of October first, nineteen hundred ninety-three. (n) any housing accommodation with a maximum rent of two thousand dollars or more per month at any time between the effective date of this paragraph and October first, nineteen hundred ninety-three which is or becomes vacant on or after the effective date of this paragraph. This exclusion shall not apply, however, to or become effective with respect to housing accommodations which the commissioner determines or finds that the landlord or any person acting on his or her behalf, with intent to cause the tenant to vacate, has engaged in any course of conduct (including, but not limited to, interruption or discontinuance of required services) which interfered with or disturbed or was intended to interfere with or disturb the comfort, repose, peace or quiet of the tenant in his or her use or occupancy of the housing accommodations and in connection with such course of conduct, any other general enforcement provision of this law shall also apply. 2-a. The landlord of a housing accommodation specified in paragraph (h) or (i) or (j) or (k) of subdivision two of this section shall file a report with the commission within thirty days following the date of first rental of such accommodation after decontrol. No copy of such report shall be required to be served upon the new tenant of such housing accommodation. 3. "Rent." Consideration, including any bonus, benefit or gratuity demanded or received for or in connection with the use or occupancy of housing accommodations or the transfer of a lease of such housing accommodations. 4. "Maximum rent." The maximum lawful rent for the use of housing accommodations. Maximum rents may be formulated in terms of rents and other charges and allowances. 5. "Person." An individual, corporation, partnership, association, or any other organized group of individuals or the legal successor or representative of any of the foregoing. 6. "Landlord." An owner, lessor, sublessor, assignee, or other person receiving or entitled to receive rent for the use or occupancy of any housing accommodation or an agent of any of the foregoing. 7. "Tenant." A tenant, subtenant, lessee, sublessee, or other person entitled to the possession or to the use or occupancy of any housing accommodation. 8. "Documents." Records, books, accounts, correspondence, memoranda and other documents, and drafts and copies of any of the foregoing. 9. "Municipality." A city, town or village. 10. "Local governing body." a. In the case of a city, the council, common council or board of aldermen and the board of estimate, board of estimate and apportionment or board of estimate and contract, if there be one. b. In the case of a town, the town board. c. In the case of a village, the board of trustees. 11. "Local laws." The local laws specified in chapter one of the laws of nineteen hundred fifty, namely local laws numbers twenty-one, twenty-three, twenty-four, twenty-five and seventy-three of the local laws of the city of New York for the year nineteen hundred forty-nine; and local law number three of the city of Buffalo for the year nineteen hundred forty-seven. 12. "Federal act." The emergency price control act of nineteen hundred forty-two, and as thereafter amended and as superseded by the housing and rent act of nineteen hundred forty-seven, and as the latter was thereafter amended prior to May first, nineteen hundred fifty, and regulations adopted pursuant thereto. ----------------------------- Section 2-a. [PURSUANT TO RENT REFORM ACT OF 1993] (a) For purposes of this section, annual income shall mean the federal adjusted gross income as reported on the New York state income tax return. Total annual income means the sum of the annual incomes of all persons who occupy the housing accommodation as their primary residence on other than a temporary basis, excluding bona fide employees of such occupants residing therein in connection with such employment and excluding bona fide subtenants in occupancy pursuant to the provisions of section two hundred twenty-six- b of the real property law. In the case where a housing accommodation is sublet, the annual income of the sublessor shall be considered. (b) On or before the first day of May in each calendar year, the owner of each housing accommodation for which the maximum rent as of October first, nineteen hundred ninety-three is two thousand dollars or more per month may provide the tenant or tenants residing therein with an income certification form prepared by the division of housing and community renewal on which such tenant or tenants shall identify all persons referred to in subdivision (a) of this section and shall certify whether the total annual income is in excess of two hundred fifty thousand dollars in each of the two preceding calendar years. Such income certification form shall state that the income level certified to by the tenant may be subject to verification by the department of taxation and finance pursuant to section one hundred seventy- one-b of the tax law and shall not require disclosure of any income information other than whether the aforementioned threshold has been exceeded. Such income certification form shall clearly state that: (i) only tenants residing in housing accommodations which had a maximum rent of two thousand dollars or more per month as of October first, nineteen hundred ninety-three are required to complete the certification form; (ii) that tenants have protections available to them which are designed to prevent harassment; (iii) that tenants are not required to provide any information regarding their income except that which is requested on the form and may contain such other information the division deems appropriate. The tenant or tenants shall return the completed certification to the owner within thirty days after service upon the tenant or tenants. In the event that the total annual income as certified is in excess of two hundred fifty thousand dollars in each such year, the owner may file the certification with the state division of housing and community renewal on or before June thirtieth of such year. Upon filing such certification with the division, the division shall, within thirty days after the filing, issue an order of decontrol providing that such housing accommodations shall not be subject to the provisions of this law as of the first day of June in the year next succeeding the filing of the certification by the owner. A copy of such order shall be mailed by regular and certified mail, return receipt requested, to the tenant or tenants and a copy thereof shall be mailed to the owner. (c) 1. In the event that the tenant or tenants either fail to return the completed certification to the owner on or before the date required by subdivision (b) of this section or the owner disputes the certification returned by the tenant or tenants, the owner may, on or before June thirtieth of such year, petition the state division of housing and community renewal to verify, pursuant to section one hundred seventy-one-b of the tax law, whether the total annual income exceeds two hundred fifty thousand dollars in each of the two preceding calendar years. Within twenty days after the filing of such request with the division, the division shall notify the tenant or tenants that such tenant or tenants must provide the division with such information as the division and the department of taxation and finance shall require to verify whether the total annual income exceeds two hundred fifty thousand dollars in each such year. The division's notification shall require the tenant or tenants to provide the information to the division within sixty days of service upon such tenant or tenants and shall include a warning in bold faced type that failure to respond will result in an order of decontrol being issued by the division for such housing accommodation. 2. If the department of taxation and finance determines that the total annual income is in excess of two hundred fifty thousand dollars in each of the two preceding calendar years, the division shall, on or before November fifteenth of such year, notify the owner and tenants of the results of such verification. Both the owner and the tenants shall have thirty days within which to comment on such verification results. Within forty-five days after the expiration of the comment period, the division shall, where appropriate, issue an order of decontrol providing that such housing accommodation shall not be subject to the provisions of this law as of the first day of March in the year next succeeding the filing of the owner's petition with the division. A copy of such order shall be mailed by regular and certified mail, return receipt requested, to the tenant or tenants and a copy thereof shall be sent to the owner. 3. In the event the tenant or tenants fail to provide the information required pursuant to paragraph one of this subdivision, the division shall issue, on or before December first of such year, an order of decontrol providing that such housing accommodation shall not be subject to the provisions of this law as of the first day of March in the year next succeeding the last day on which the tenant or tenants were required to provide the information required by such paragraph. A copy of such order shall be mailed by regular and certified mail, return receipt requested, to the tenant or tenants and a copy thereof shall be sent to the owner. 4. The provisions of the state freedom of information act shall not apply to any income information obtained by the division pursuant to this section. (d) This section shall apply only to paragraph (m) of subdivision two of section two of this law.


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