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There are laws which protect the succession rights of rent stabilized tenants. The rule is that eligibility is determined based upon status as a family member. Family members who wish to qualify for succession rights must have lived with the primary tenant for at least two years. Distinctions are made between traditional and non-traditional family members. They may be spared from eviction and permitted to renew the lease at the rent-stabilized rate.
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Rent stabilization codes do not exist across the United States. As of 2010, the most clearly defined succession rights of those tenants apply to New York City residents according to the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal. Also, the Housing and Urban Development website for California mentions that rent regulation codes exist in limited parts of the state, including Berkeley, Los Angeles and San Francisco. In Washington, D.C., rent regulation is known as rent control.
Traditional Family Members
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The Rent Stabilization code allows for a broad interpretation of traditional family members. The DHCR lists all the family members who may eligible for succession rights. Spouses, children and parents are classified as family members. Grandparents and grandchildren are included in this category. Also, stepparents and stepchildren may be considered. Moreover, the provision protects direct in-laws.
Non-Traditional Family Members
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This category includes genetically non-related persons who have lived together and have shared either financial obligations or have demonstrated emotional ties. Documentary evidence of financial dependence or legal representation is required. Participating in activities such as holding joint bank accounts, entering into a power of attorney and regular attendance in family events are considered.
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In cases when disabled persons and senior citizens over the age of 62 seek succession rights, the required period of co-habitation is one year.
Lease Agreements and Forms
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File copies of all your rent stabilized lease agreements and related correspondence. The rent stabilized lease in New York consists of a lease form and the lease rider. The rider specifies how the legal regulated rent is calculated according to the percentage determined annually by the Rent Guidelines Board.
Download Form RA-23.5 from DHCR's website ("Notice To Owner of Family Members Residing With the Named Tenant In the Apartment Who May Be Entitled to Succession Rights/Protection From Eviction.") Give the landlord a completed form, and retain a copy for your records.
Also, there is a provision for "Renewal Lease Succession Rights" incorporated in the rider which is published by DHCR. The tenant who acquires succession rights should enter into a written lease with the landlord based on the permitted increase according to the last regulated rent. In New York City, the renewal rate is usually higher when the owner provides heat as opposed to when the tenant provides heat as per the Rent Stabilization Association of New York.