Rent Stabilization: What Every Tenant Needs to Know

October 16, 2009

This question has a lot of different answers, depending upon who you ask, here’s what the New York City Rent Guidelines Board (NYCRGB) has to say:

Ask Why!

Ask Why!

New York City has a system of rent regulation known as “rent stabilization.” The system was enacted in 1969 when rents were rising sharply in many post-war buildings. The system has been extended and amended frequently, and now about 1 million apartments in the City are covered by rent stabilization. Rent stabilized tenants are protected from sharp increases in rent and have the right to renew their leases.

In NYC, rent stabilized apartments are those apartments in buildings of six or more units built between February 1, 1947 and January 1, 1974.
Tenants in buildings of six or more units built before February 1, 1947 and who moved in after June 30, 1971 are also covered by rent stabilization.
A third category of rent stabilized apartments covers buildings with three or more apartments constructed or extensively renovated since 1974 with special tax benefits. Generally, these buildings are stabilized only while the tax benefits continue.

Can my landlord evict me and use my stabilized apartment for his family, and how many apartments in the building can the landlord take?

One of the advantages of being a rent stabilized tenant is the right to renew your lease. This right holds with few exceptions, and eviction for owner occupancy by the landlord or a family member is one of the exceptions.
The rent regulation laws allow the landlord of a rent stabilized building to take over one or more apartments for family use. However, he/she must give you 90 to 150 days notice before your existing lease expires that it will not be renewed. In addition, he/she must be able to prove that the apartment will be for family use. Note that if you are 62 or older or disabled you have additional protections. If you do wish to stay in the apartment, you could simply stay put and wait for the landlord to serve you with eviction papers. The landlord will then have to prove in court that he needs the apartment for family use. The court may or may not agree with his assessment.

Regarding the number of apartments an owner can take: The Rent Stabilization Law and Code is a little vague about the number of apartments that an owner may occupy: “…only one of the individual owners of any building, whether such ownership is by joint tenancy, tenancy in common, or tenancy by the entirety to recover possession of one or more dwelling units for personal use and occupancy.” However, the DHCR informs us that an owner can take more than one unit for his or his relative’s occupancy.



Why is it getting so hard to find Rent Stabilized Apartments?

When a tenant moves out of a Rent Stabilized Apartment, the Landlord of this apartment has two options.
1) Rent the apartment as a rent stabilized apartment to the next tenant
2) Renovate the apartment and get 1/40th of the renovation cost added to the monthly rent, and if it goes over $2000 a month, he can then De-regulate the apartment!

Here is the Example for Renovation:
The tenant moves out of a rent stabilized apartment in which the rent was $1000.00 a month. The landlord legally can increase the rent 20% for change of tenancy, bringing the monthly up to $1200.00. Now the magic number for a landlord is $2000.00, so he’s $800 away from De-regulation. If the landlord Renovates the Apartment, he/she is entitled to add 1/40th of the renovation cost to the monthly rent, in this example the landlord needs to put at least $32,000 worth of renovations into the apartment to hit $2000.00. If the example apartment was a 2 bedroom, the landlord would probably demand an average rent of $4500 a month! Don’t be fooled, Landlords want to De-regulate their Stabilized units as fast as possible, it increases their rent rolls, and makes the whole building more valuable!

Rent Stabilized Apartments are really hard to find, and if you have one, Lucky You! If you would like more information on Rent Stabilization, or have any real estate questions, give us a call


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s