Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Owner/Landlord Questions

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What is a "7A Administrator" and how does the appointment of one affect landlords?

Typically, a 7A administrator is appointed after a judge determines that a building contains conditions "dangerous to life, health or safety" which the building owner has failed to remedy. A 7A administrator may be appointed after the petition of 1/3 of the tenants in the building or if the City's Department of Housing Preservation & Development asks the courts to appoint an administrator. The administrator basically takes control of the building from the owner and uses the rents to remedy dangerous conditions in the building. Buildings with 7A administrators are typically in very poor physical condition. However, if the 7A administrator does his/her job, the building can be brought back to good (if not excellent) condition.

The Administrator may cease managing the building upon the occurrence of one of two things: 1) The administrator is not doing his/her job correctly; or 2) The administrator has successfully completed his/her job and the building no longer needs his/her assistance. For more information, see HPD’s 7A management Program page

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I want to buy a six-family house - how can I find out if it is stabilized and obtain registration documents for the building?

To find out for sure whether the building is stabilized, contact Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) , the state agency which administers the rent laws.

The DHCR keeps all records relating to rent registration. Before you buy a rent stabilized building you should ask the seller to show you all the rent registration materials from the last four years. Remember, if the building has not been correctly registered or if the current owner is not abiding by the law, you might get stuck with legal actions from tenants after you buy. Be careful.

If filing has not been done you should be very leery about buying this building. You should consult with an attorney or one of the owners' organizations (see next question) before buying the building.

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I just bought a stabilized building - where can I find information on managing and maintaining my property?

You may contact the Rent Stabilization Association at (212) 214-9200, who offer information and assistance to owners of rent stabilized properties. The Community Housing Improvement Project (CHIP) can also help. Their number is (212) 838-7442. If you own a small property, you can also try the Small Property Owners of New York (SPONY) at (212) 410-4600.

You may also wish to contact Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), the state agency which administers the rent laws. They can provide assistance with understanding regulations, filing dates, forms, etc.

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Who is responsible for recycling - landlords or tenants?

Under the recycling laws, landlords have four responsibilities. They must:

  • Provide a storage area for recyclables.
  • Post and maintain signs indicating which materials must be recycled. The signs should also indicate that tenants must separate their recyclables into mixed paper/cardboard, plastic/glass/metal.
  • Put recyclables in special receptacles.
  • Remove any non-recyclable material from recycling cans.

Recycling rules are detailed by the NYC Dept. of Sanitation If you are receiving fines because the tenants are not properly sorting their trash, you should make sure that the tenants are aware of the provisions of the law. Put up highly visible signs and distribute brochures indicating exactly which materials must be recycled and what containers the recyclables go in. The Department of Sanitation (DOS) can supply you with signs.

If tenants are informed and do not cooperate, you should contact the Dept. of Sanitation for assistance.

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I own a small property - where can I get advice and assistance?

The Small Building Owners' Assistance Unit (SBOAU) was established in 1984 by the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR), to provide special assistance to owners of rent regulated buildings with a total of 50 units or less. This Unit was especially designed to help small building owners like you.

For more info, see DHCR Fact Sheet #19: Small Building Owners’ Assistance Unit for additional information.

You may also wish to contact the Small Property Owners of New York (SPONY) at (212) 410-4600. SPONY is a private organization which advocates for small owners.

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How does the number of units affect a building's regulation status?

Rent controlled units can generally be found in buildings with three or more apartments. In rare instances, a two-family home may be rent controlled if it was occupied by the same tenant since 1953.

Rent stabilization generally applies only to buildings with six or more units. Although smaller buildings may be subject to stabilization if stabilization is imposed due to a tax abatement (See our Tax Abatement/Exemption FAQ.

Also, the remaining tenants in a building which is reduced from six to fewer than six units may continue to be rent stabilized.

For more information on the differences between rent stabilization and rent control see DHCR Fact Sheet #1: Rent Stabilization and Rent Control Other DHCR fact sheets explain in more detail the workings of rent control and rent stabilization.

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