New York Rent Laws
Rent Stab Code (1987) - Table of Contents
NYC Rent Stabilization Code (1987)
Please note: This version of the NYC Rent Stabilziation Code is from 1987 and is not current. The code has been amended several times since 1987. Although much remains the same, there are significant changes that have occurred. This version of the code is maintained for archival purposes.
PART 2526 -- ENFORCEMENT
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Section 2526.1. Overcharge penalties; fines; assessment of
costs; attorney's fees; rent credits.
2526.2. Orders to enforce the RSL and this Code.
2526.3. Injunctions by Supreme Court.
2526.4. Oaths, subpoenas, hearing officers.
2526.5. Confidentiality of information.
2526.6. Inspection and records.
Sec. 2526.1. OVERCHARGE PENALTIES; FINES; ASSESSMENT OF COSTS;
ATTORNEY'S FEES; RENT CREDITS.
(a) (1) Any owner who is found by the DHCR, after a
reasonable opportunity to be heard, to have collected
any rent or other consideration in excess of the legal
regulated rent shall be ordered to pay to the tenant a
penalty equal to three times the amount of such excess,
except as provided under subdivision (f) of this
section. If the owner establishes by a preponderance of
the evidence that the overcharge was not willful, the
DHCR shall establish the penalty as the amount of the
overcharge plus interest from the date of the first
overcharge on or after April 1, 1984, at the rate of
interest payable on a judgment pursuant to section 5004
of the Civil Practice Law and Rules, and the order
shall direct such a payment to be made to the tenant.
(2) A complaint pursuant to this section must be filed with
the DHCR within four years of the first overcharge
alleged, and no award of the amount of an overcharge
may be based upon an overcharge having occurred more
than four years before the complaint is filed, provided
(i) a penalty of three times the overcharge may not be
based upon an overcharge having occurred more than
two years before the complaint is filed or upon an
overcharge which occurred prior to April 1, 1984;
(ii) any complaint based upon overcharges occurring
prior to the date of filing of the initial rent
registration for a housing accommodation pursuant
to Part 2528 of this Title shall be filed within
90 days of the mailing of notice to the tenant of
(3) (i) Except as to complaints filed pursuant to
subparagraph (ii) of this paragraph, the legal
regulated rent for purposes of determining an
overcharge shall be deemed to be the rent shown in
the annual registration statement filed four years
prior to the most recent registration statement
(or, if more recently filed, the initial
registration statement), plus in each case any
subsequent lawful increases and adjustments.
(ii) As to complaints filed within 90 days of the
initial registration of a housing accommodation,
the legal regulated rent for purposes of
determining an overcharge shall be deemed to be
the rent charged and paid on April 1, 1980, or for
a housing accommodation not required to be
registered by June 30, 1984, four years prior to
the date the housing accommodation was first
required to be registered (or if the housing
accommodation was subject to the RSL and this Code
for less than four years prior to such initial
registration, the initial legal regulated rent)
plus in each case, any lawful increases and
adjustments. Where the rent charged on such dates
cannot be established, such rent shall be
determined by the DHCR in accordance with section
2522.6 of this Title.
(4) Complaints filed prior to April I, 1 984 shall be
determined in accordance with the RSL and Code
provisions in effect on March 31, 1984, except that an
overcharge collected on or after April 1, 1984 may be
subject to treble damages pursuant to this section.
(b) The DHCR shall determine the owner's liability between or
among two or more tenants found to have been overcharged
during their particular occupancy of a housing
accommodation, and at its discretion, may require the owner
to make diligent efforts to locate prior tenants who are not
parties to the proceeding, and to make refunds to such
tenants or pay the amount of such penalty as a fine.
(c) (1) Any affected tenant shall be given notice of and
an opportunity to join in any proceeding commenced by
the DHCR pursuant to this section.
(2) Where a complainant pursuant to this section vacates
the housing accommodation, and the DHCR continues the
proceeding, the DHCR shall give any affected tenant
notice of and an opportunity to join in such
(d) An owner who is found to have overcharged by the DHCR may be
assessed and ordered to pay to the tenant as an additional
penalty the reasonable costs and attorney's fees of the
proceeding, and except where treble damages are awarded,
interest from the date of the overcharge occurring on or
after April 1, 1984, at the rate of interest payable on a
judgment pursuant to section 5004 of the Civil Practice Law
(e) A tenant may recover any overcharge penalty established by
the DHCR by deducting it from the rent due to the present
owner at a rate not in excess of 20 percent of the amount of
the penalty for any one month's rent. If no such rent credit
has been taken, the order of the DHCR awarding penalties may
be entered, filed and enforced by a tenant in the same
manner as a judgment of the Supreme Court, on a form
prescribed by the DHCR, provided that the amount of the
penalty exceeds $1,000 or the tenant is no longer in
possession. Neither of these remedies is available until the
expiration of the period in which the owner may institute a
proceeding pursuant to Part 2530 of this Title.
(f) Responsibility for overcharges.
(1) For overcharges collected prior to April 1, 1984, an
owner will be held responsible only for his or her
portion of the overcharges, in the absence of collusion
or any relationship between such owner and any prior
(2) For overcharge complaints filed or overcharges
collected on or after April 1, 1984, a current owner
shall be responsible for all overcharge penalties,
including penalties based upon overcharges collected by
any prior owner. However, in the absence of collusion
or any relationship between such owner and any prior
owner, where no records sufficient to establish the
legal regulated rent were provided at a judicial sale,
a current owner who purchases upon such judicial sale
shall be liable only for his or her portion of the
overcharges, and shall not be liable for treble damages
upon such portion resulting from overcharges caused by
any prior owner. Such penalties shall be subject to the
time limitations set forth in paragraph (a)(2) of this
(3) This subdivision shall not be construed to entitle a
tenant to more than one refund for the same overcharge.
(g) The provisions of this section shall not apply to a
proceeding pursuant to section 2522.3 of this Title.
Sec. 2526.2. ORDERS TO ENFORCE THE RSL AND THIS CODE.
(a) Upon notice and reasonable opportunity to be heard, the DHCR
may issue orders it deems appropriate to enforce the RSL and
(b) In addition to any other penalties provided for in this
Code, if the DHCR finds that any owner has knowingly
violated any provision of the RSL or this Code, it may
assess a penalty of up to $250 for each such violation
against the owner.
(c) If the owner is found by the DHCR:
(1) to have violated an order of the DHCR, the DHCR may
impose, by administrative order after holding a
hearing, a penalty in the amount of $250 for the first
such offense and $1,000 for each subsequent offense; or
(2) to have harassed a tenant to obtain a vacancy of a
housing accommodation, the DHCR may impose, by
administrative order after holding a hearing, a penalty
in the amount of up to $1,000 for a first such offense
and up to $2,500 for each subsequent offense or for a
violation consisting of conduct directed at the tenants
of more than one housing accommodation. Such order
shall be deemed a final determination for the purposes
of judicial review pursuant to Part 2530 of this Title.
Such penalty may, upon the expiration of the period for
seeking review pursuant to article 78 of the Civil
Practice Law and Rules, be docketed and enforced in the
manner of a judgment of the Supreme Court; or
(3) not have utilized a housing accommodation for the
purpose intended under section 2524.4(b)(2) of this
Title, the DHCR shall impose, by administrative order
after hearing, a penalty in the amount of up to $1,000
for each such offense.
(d) Any owner who has been found by the DHCR to have refused to
comply with an order of the DHCR or to have harassed a
tenant shall, in addition to being subject to any other
penalties or remedies permitted by law or by this Code, be
barred thereafter from applying for or collecting any
further rent increase for the affected housing
accommodation. The finding by the DHCR that the owner has
complied with such order or that the conduct which resulted
in the finding of harassment has ceased, shall result in the
prospective elimination of the sanctions provided for in
(e) The failure of any owner to pay any fine, penalty or
assessment authorized by the RSL or this Code shall, until
such fine, penalty or assessment is paid, bar an owner from
applying for or collecting any further rent increases for
such housing accommodation. The late payment of any fine,
penalty or assessment shall result in the prospective
elimination of such sanction.
Sec. 2526.3. INJUNCTIONS BY SUPREME COURT.
The DHCR may commence proceedings in the Supreme Court to enjoin
violations of the RSL, this Code, or orders issued pursuant
thereto. In any such proceedings, the DHCR shall not be required
to post bond.
Sec. 2526.4. OATHS, SUBPOENAS, HEARING OFFICERS.
The DHCR may administer oaths, issue subpoenas, conduct
investigations, make inspections and designate officers to hear
Sec. 2526.5. CONFIDENTIALITY OF INFORMATION.
The DHCR shall safeguard the confidentiality of information
furnished to it at the request of the person furnishing such
information, unless such information must be made public or
available to a governmental agency in the interest of
establishing a record for the future guidance of persons subject
to the RSL.
Sec. 2526.6. INSPECTION AND RECORDS.
(a) An owner shall, as the DHCR may from time to time require,
furnish information under oath or affirmation or otherwise,
permit inspection and copying of records and other documents
and permit inspection of any housing accommodations.
(b) An owner shall, as the DHCR may from time to time require,
make and keep records and other documents and make reports.