NYC Rent Control Laws

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    • New York City rent control laws regulate certain rentals.new york city image by sjpriceuk from Fotolia.com

      New York City rent control laws regulate the rental of apartments in certain buildings. These laws determine rent-controlled status based on buildings' age and tenants' length of tenancy. Rent control laws restrict landlords' ability to raise rents and evict tenants. They also regulate succession, which is the passing down of rent-controlled apartments to family members. They differ from rent stabilization laws. Protect your rights by knowing the law.

    Rentals Covered

    • New York City's rent control laws cover residential buildings built before Feb. 1, 1947, where tenants and their successors have held continuous occupancy since before July 1, 1971.

    Rent Restrictions

    • In New York City, the Department of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) sets maximum rent increases on rent-controlled apartments using the Maximum Base Rent (MBR) system. This establishes a base rent for each apartment that is raised biannually to adjust for changes in operating costs and, in some cases, increases in fuel or labor costs. Typically, landlords can raise rents by obtaining tenants' written consent after increases in service or improvements made to the apartments, upon DHCR approval after major building-wide improvements or upon DHCR approval in cases of demonstrated hardship.

    Evictions

    • New York City law only allows landlords to evict tenants for certain reasons, and owners of rent-controlled apartments must usually obtain DHCR approval first. In rent-controlled apartments, the only reason landlords may only evict tenants without DHCR approval or notification is for nonpayment of rent. When evicting tenants for other reasons, such as damage to the apartment or failure to use it as a primary residence, landlords must notify the DHCR by filing a copy of the termination notice and may need DHCR approval. Additionally, landlords must take tenants to court and obtain court-ordered judgments to make evictions legal.

    Succession

    • New York City law allows a rent-controlled apartment to pass without any rent increase to a relative of the original tenant when the original tenant dies or permanently vacates the apartment. Rent control law also protects relatives from eviction after the original tenant's death or departure. Generally, the relative must have lived with the tenant for at least two years immediately before the death or departure; this minimum period is reduced to one year for disabled and elderly relatives. Spouses, children, grandchildren, siblings, parents, grandparents and in-laws qualify as relatives. Other people who can prove length of relationship and emotional and financial commitment to the original tenant may also qualify as relatives.

    Rent Stabilization

    • New York City also imposes rent stabilization laws on some buildings. These laws function somewhat differently than rent control laws and generally apply to buildings with six or more apartments built before Jan. 1, 1974 with tenants in continuous occupancy after June 30, 1971.

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