Is Your Apartment Regulated?

 

            It is quite possible to move into a rent-stabilized apartment and not even know it. Rent-stabilization applies to buildings build prior to 1974, with six (6) or more units, and is not a condo or co-op.[1]Moreover, it may be the case that your apartment is rent-stabilized if your building receives certain tax breaks from the City.[2]

Rent-stabilization provides that a landlord can only increase a tenant’s rent by a percentage established by the Rent Guidelines Board. Currently, for a “one-year renewal lease commencing on or after October 1, 2017 and on or before September 30, 2018” the percentage rent increase is 1.25%. For a two-year lease renewal, the percentage rent increase is 2%.[3]

 

The Division of Housing and Community Renewal (“DHCR”), makes it easy to determine whether your apartment is rent-stabilized. First, simply request your apartments rent history and rent registration history.[4]A rent registration printout will show the apartments status and the rents regulated by the building owner with DHCR.[5]Here, a tenant should review the rent history and determine whether the rent previously charged was lawful or whether deregulation of a previous rent-stabilized apartment to a market rate apartment was lawful. In reviewing previous rent increases, it is important to note that when a tenant moves out of a rent-stabilized apartment, a landlord can increase the rent by up to 20%. Id.

Moreover, a rent-stabilized apartment could become deregulated if the rent hits a certain threshold, which is currently $2,733.75, and the tenant moves out.[6]Finally, DHCR has generated a list of buildings in New York City that contain rent-stabilization apartments, albeit, per owner registrations.[7]Even if your building or apartment is not listed with DHCR, it is still possible that you may be rent-stabilized. This is because the DHCR database is not conclusive of all rent-stabilized apartments in NYC. Moreover, a landlord can even negligently or intentionally fail to register the apartment with DHCR. Therefore, it is still important to conduct one’s own research in determining whether your apartment is rent-stabilized. 

 

When reviewing one’s rent history, if one determines that their landlord has unlawfully increased rent, one can file an overcharge complaint with the DHCR. However, such complaints must be filed within four years of the alleged rent increase.[8]

 

The information above is intended to provide limited information only and is not legal advice. The laws relating to rent-stabilization in New York are complex. If you are a party to a matter concerning rent-stabilization, rent abatement, or eviction and otherwise need further guidance in this or a related area of law, Singh & Rani, LLP can assist you.

[1]https://www1.nyc.gov/site/rentguidelinesboard/resources/rent-stabilized-building-lists.page

[2]https://www1.nyc.gov/site/rentguidelinesboard/resources/tax-abatement-exemption-programs.page#my

[3]https://www1.nyc.gov/site/rentguidelinesboard/rent-guidelines/2017-18-apartment-loft-order-49.page

[4]Obtaining Rent History, Visit - https://portal.hcr.ny.gov/app/ask

[5]http://www.nyshcr.org/Rent/FactSheets/orafac26.pdf 

[6]https://www1.nyc.gov/site/rentguidelinesboard/resources/rent-stabilized-building-lists.page

[7]https://www1.nyc.gov/site/rentguidelinesboard/resources/rent-stabilized-building-lists.page

[8]Filing a complaint with DHCR - http://www.nyshcr.org/Forms/Rent/ra60h.pdf

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Bikram Singh

Mr. Singh has been practicing law in the New York State and Federal Courts for almost 10 years. He was a principal attorney at Bikram Singh Law, P.C., after graduating with honors from Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center in 2008.