Vacancy Leases

Vacancy Leases

Since June 15, 1997, when the increase in rent for a vacancy lease began to be governed by the terms of the Rent Regulation Reform Act of 1997, the vacancy increase has not been set by the NYC Rent Guidelines Board. In addition, since June 24, 2011, vacancy lease rents have also been governed by the terms of the Rent Act of 2011. Finally, since June 15, 2015, they have been governed by the terms of the Rent Act of 2015.

For assistance, please contact Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) the agency that regulates rent stabilized apartments.

Information on how vacancy lease rents increase is available on HCR's website:

Further information on vacancy leases can be found in these HCR Fact Sheets:

  • DHCR Fact Sheet #5: Vacancy Leases in Rent Stabilized Apartments

  • DHCR Fact Sheet #36: High-Rent Vacancy Deregulation and High-Rent High-Income Deregulation

Leases in General

Leases can be divided into two main categories: Vacancy leases and renewal leases.

A tenant signs a vacancy lease when moving into a vacant rent stabilized apartment.

The second (and any subsequent) lease signed by a rent stabilized tenant is called a renewal lease. Allowable rent increases for renewal leases are governed by the annual orders of the NYC Rent Guidelines Board. For renewal guidelines, see Apartment & Loft Guidelines.

In general, the landlord can increase the rent by the following method:

A provision in the Rent Regulation Reform Act of 1997 allows owners of rent stabilized units to raise by a certain percentage the legal rent of a vacant unit. For an incoming tenant who opts for a two-year lease, the vacancy allowance is 20%. For an incoming tenant who opts for a one-year lease, the vacancy allowance is 20% minus the percentage difference between the Rent Guidelines Board's (RGB’s) then-current guidelines for a two-year and a one-year lease.

However, with passage of the Rent Act of 2015, if a vacating tenant was paying a preferential rent, the vacancy lease rent increase that can be applied to the vacating tenant’s legal rent will be limited to 5% if the last vacancy lease commenced less than two years ago, 10% if less than three years ago, 15% if less than four years ago and 20% if four or more years ago.

To calculate the vacancy lease increase, see the HCR webpages linked to at the top of this page. For additional assistance, please contact Homes and Community Renewal (HCR).