Tenant Self-help Action Guide (What To Do If The Rent Laws Expire?)
by Met Council on HousingEven if the rent laws expire on June 15, some provisions of the current rent laws remain in effect for awhile. Also, other laws containing tenant protections do not expire at all. The laws requiring the landlord to make repairs and provide services remain in effect. Even if some landlords anxious to exploit the expiration of rent regulations confront their tenants in ways that make tenants feel at risk of losing their rights or their apartment, tenants have ways of dealing with them. Here are a few involving the most common situations.
Rent laws continue for some
New York City rent control was renewed by the City Council in March and we believe it does not end with the expiration of the other related rent laws in the state legislature in Albany on June 15. Similarly, New York City rent stabilized tenants living continuously in their apartments since June 30, 1971 do not lose rent stabilization on June 15.
Tenants with current leases
Tenants under rent stabilization with current leases continue to be protected from eviction for the duration of their leases. If and when the rent laws are eventually restored, the right to renew the lease will be re-enacted. If your current lease expires on or after October 14, 1997, you lose the right to renew until the rent laws are re-enacted. Try to hang on to your apartment any way you can so you can re-acquire the right to renew your lease.
Tenants whose leases have already expired, or will before October 14, 1997
Rent stabilized tenants without current leases because their landlords have refused or otherwise failed to renew, and tenants whose leases will expire before October 14, 1997 will continue to have the right to renew for one or two years at the stabilization guidelines. If you have already received a renewal offer, you should execute it and return it to your landlord immediately (make a copy first) by certified mail. If your landlord has not sent you a renewal offer (many won't), request one by certified mail and file a complaint of failure to renew the lease with the Division of Housing and Community Renewal on Form. RA-90. DHCR will send you a RA-90 if you call them at (718) 739-6400, or get one at one of their borough offices.
If your landlord comes to you with an offer to renew your tenancy with a unregulated lease at an unregulated rent increase, you should resist it. When the laws are renewed, you could be stuck with your decision. We expect many landlords will attempt to evade the rent laws this way.
No tenant, regulated or not, can be legally evicted in New York State without an order from a Housing Court judge. The landlord has no right to order you out of your apartment, or to lock you out, with or without the rent laws. (See Harassment below.) If it is happening to you, call the police, a legal services office, or our hotline for help.
Threats of lock-out, actual lock-out, threats of violence, or other criminal acts by a landlord should immediately be reported to the police. Get a copy of the police incident report. Report serious attempts at eviction to us at Met Council to help us get the rent laws renewed. Oral threats of eviction that don't result in any action by the landlord should be a warning that the landlord may act. Some landlords just like to intimidate their tenants.
Information provided by Met Council on Housing.