No. Except for rent regulated apartments, a tenant may only renew the lease with the consent of the landlord. See the section on Renewal Leases in the NY State Attorney General's Tenant's Rights Guide.
If you face eviction, please see this FAQ.
Although there are some exceptions, tenants in rent stabilized apartments have a basic right under state law to select a lease renewal for a one- or two-year term. The landlord must give written notice to the tenant of the right to renewal no more than 150 days and not less than 90 days prior to the end of the lease. For more information on your right to renewal, see HCR Fact Sheet #4 on Lease Renewal in Rent Stabilized Apartments . If you face harassment, see HCR Fact Sheet #17 on Harassment . For more info, contact Homes and Community Renewal, HCR
If your apartment is rent stabilized, you have the right to a lease renewal. The owner must give written notice of renewal by mail or personal delivery not more than 150 days and not less than 90 days before the existing lease expires. The offer to renew the lease for New York City tenants must be on a Renewal Lease Form [DHCR form RTP-8]. For additional information, contact Homes and Community Renewal (HCR).
If your landlord has not contacted you yet with your renewal lease, you may wish to speak to him/her. To be certain your apartment is rent stabilized, contact HCR. If it is, and you haven't received your renewal lease during the proper time frame, you may want to file a complaint with HCR. Contact them to file a complaint, or download and submit HCR Form RA-90, Tenant's Complaint of Owner's Failure to Renew Lease and/or Failure to Furnish a Copy of a Signed Lease.
Under the rent stabilization rules, your landlord must mail you a lease renewal 90 to 150 days prior to the expiration of your current lease. If you do not return the lease within 60 days, the landlord may refuse to renew your lease and could move to evict you after the lease expires. For more information on lease renewal in rent stabilized apartments, see HCR Fact Sheet #4 on Lease Renewal in Rent Stabilized Apartments. For additional information, contact Homes and Community Renewal (HCR). More information on eviction can be found on our Legal Assistance page.
However, if the landlord did not offer a timely renewal to you, that is, did not offer the renewal between 90 and 150 days prior to the expiration of the lease, that may be a mitigating factor. So, if this is the case, you should probably call the landlord and say that you want to remain in the apartment. If s/he objects, you might remind him that s/he failed to send a timely renewal, and that if s/he attempts to evict you at the end of your lease you will use this in your defense. If the landlord insists on renting to someone else, you should probably consult with an attorney regarding the "late renewal" defense and whether this would stop an eviction action by your landlord.
In order to find out what the prior tenant was paying you need to contact Homes and Community Renewal (HCR). You will want to ask for the rent history for your apartment. In order to obtain the rent history, you will have to prove that you are the tenant in that unit because rent information is only given to the owner of the building and the tenants in place. Proof of tenancy is a copy of the signed lease, a telephone bill, etc.
Once you have the prior tenants' rent, you can see if the vacancy increases were applied correctly to the prior tenant's rent. See vacancy lease increases.
The lease renewal guidelines enacted by the NYC Rent Guidelines Board each year are based on a variety of factors, including the six annual reports prepared by the RGB staff, as well as testimony presented to the board at public meetings, hearings and in writing.