The End of Rent Regulation?
Questions & Answers for Troubled Tenants
by the NYC Rent Guidelines Board
What is the difference between rent control and rent stabilization?
Rent Control was enacted during World War II and subsequently maintained by New York City and State. Rent Controlled units are generally occupied by persons who have remained in possession of their apartments since June 30, 1971 or by their surviving spouse, adult lifetime partner or other family member. All rent controlled apartments are in buildings constructed before 1947. There are approximately 71,000 rent controlled apartments in New York City.
Rent Stabilization was first enacted by the City of New York in 1969 to cover post-1946 buildings. Since then, the rent stabilized stock has been greatly expanded as vacated rent controlled units have come under stabilization. There are approximately 1 million rent stabilized units in New York City. Maximum allowable rent increases are set by the New York City Rent Guidelines Board.
Is my apartment rent stabilized?
Pursuant to provisions of the rent stabilization law, the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) requires landlords to attach a "Rent Stabilization Lease Rider" to leases signed by rent stabilized tenants. The Rider describes the rights and duties of owners and tenants as provided for under the rent stabilization Law. Look at your lease. If the rider is attached you can be nearly certain that your apartment is rent stabilized.
What if the rent stabilization lease rider is not attached to my lease? or I lost my lease?
To determine whether your apartment BUILDING contains rent stabilized apartments, go to http://tenant.net/DHCR/dhcraddr/rent.html or email the Rent Guidelines Board. If the building does NOT contain rent stabilized or controlled units you can be fairly confident your apartment is not rent stabilized. However, if the building DOES contain rent stabilized apartments, that does not necessarily mean your apartment is rent stabilized (although this is usually the case). The only way to be certain whether the apartment is rent stabilized is to contact the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (718-739-6400).
How do the rent regulation laws work? What is the fuss in Albany?
The rent regulation laws are quite complicated. Some of the laws have been passed by the city, some by the state. Rent stabilization is subject to a "sunset" provision. That is, if the stabilization laws are not renewed by the state legislature by June 15, rent stabilization ceases to exist and landlords are no longer bound by rent caps or the requirement to renew your lease IN THE VAST MAJORITY OF CASES. However, some units MAY remain stabilized, including:
- Apartments constructed between 1947 and March 10, 1969 with tenants in continuous occupancy since June 30, 1971;
- Apartments which are rent stabilized because of J-51 or 421a tax exemptions/abatements;
- Apartments which are in housing developed by the City's Department of Housing Preservation & Development;
- Apartments in co-op/condo buildings developed under non-eviction plans where the original tenants are in residence;
- Rent stabilized Lofts.
If the rent stabilization rules simply expire there will certainly be much litigation concerning which types of units remain or do not remain under stabilization.
An important note: Rent Controlled tenants are NOT affected by the current debate in Albany. Rent Controlled tenants will be continue to be protected if current rules are not renewed.
If regulations are not renewed does this mean my landlord can evict me or raise my rent after June 15?
Although rent stabilization would largely cease to exist, your current lease would continue to be valid. An owner could NOT break a lease merely because the rent laws were not renewed. However, at the end of your lease term the landlord could refuse to renew the lease and/or charge whatever rent the market will bear.
My current lease ends August 15. I have already received and signed a lease renewal offer from my landlord. Will this lease be valid even if stabilization regulations are not renewed?
Yes. Even though the lease term will not begin until after the June 15 sunset date, the fact that you have received and accepted a renewal offer means that you will continue to be protected until the end of this lease.
My lease runs out July 1. I haven't been offered a renewal lease. Does my landlord have to offer to renew my lease?
One of the primary features of the rent stabilization law is that tenants have the RIGHT to renew their lease. Current law requires landlords to offer a renewal lease not more than 150 days and not less than 120 days before an existing lease expires. The offer to renew the lease for New York City tenants must be on a Renewal Lease Form [DHCR form RTP-8]. You should have been offered a lease renewal by now.
Call your landlord and ask for a renewal form. If your landlord or management company refuses to provide a lease renewal, you can file a complaint with the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) by requesting the following form: Tenant's Complaint of Owner's Failure to Renew Lease and /or Failure to Furnish a Copy of a Signed Lease [DHCR form RA-90]. Call 718-739-6400 to obtain the form.
Information provided by the Rent Guidelines Board