Yes. While rent control and rent stabilization both involve rent regulation, they have different sets of regulations. According to the 2014 NYC Housing and Vacancy Survey, there are about 27,000 rent controlled apartments vs. about 1,030,000 rent stabilized apartments.
The term "rent regulated" encompasses both rent controlled and rent stabilized units. The Rent Guidelines Board has the responsibility for setting rent adjustments for rent stabilized apartments, but not for rent controlled apartments. The NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), the agency that regulates both rent controlled and rent stabilized apartments, also explains them in HCR Fact Sheet #1: Rent Stabilization and Rent Control.
The rent control program generally applies to residential buildings constructed before February 1947 in municipalities that have not declared an end to the postwar rental housing emergency. A total of 51 municipalities have rent control, including New York City, Albany, Buffalo and various cities, towns, and villages in Albany, Erie, Nassau, Rensselaer, Schenectady and Westchester counties.
For an apartment to be under rent control, the tenant (or their lawful successor such as a family member, spouse, or adult lifetime partner) must have been living in that apartment continuously since before July 1, 1971. When a rent controlled apartment becomes vacant, it either becomes rent stabilized, or, if it is in a building with fewer than six units, it is generally removed from regulation. For more information on succession and the definition of a family member, check out HCR Fact Sheet #30: Succession
An apartment in a one- or two-family house must have a tenant in continuous occupancy since April 1, 1953 in order to be subject to rent control. Once it is vacated after that date, it is no longer subject to regulation. Previously controlled apartments may have been decontrolled on various other grounds. On rare occasions, a decontrolled apartment is ordered back under rent control as a penalty for certain violations of the rent laws.
In NYC, rent stabilized apartments are generally 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.
There are numerous exceptions to both of these general categories. For example, if the legal rent exceeded $2,700 ($2,733.75 after Dec. 31, 2017) following a vacancy, the unit may be deregulated. Or, if the unit was in a building converted to a co-op it may be deregulated upon vacancy.
To determine if your apartment is under rent stabilization or rent control, contact NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), the state agency which administers the rent laws.
Rent control covers about 27,000 apartments occupied generally by an older, lower income population who have been in occupancy since July 1, 1971, or by their lawful successors. Apartments under rent control become decontrolled upon vacancy. If the apartment is in a building with six or more units it will generally fall under rent stabilization upon vacancy. If in a building with five or fewer apartments it will "go to market," that is, leave rent regulation and become a market-rate rental. Even if the apartment is in a building with six or more units, and it rents for more a threshold of $2,700 ($2,733.75 after Dec. 31, 2017), it will be fully deregulated. Whether or not the legal rent has surpassed this threshold may be determined in what is known as a Fair Market Rent Appeal. For further information on this process see HCR Fact Sheet #6: Fair Market Rent Appeals.
The long-term trend is towards zero rent-controlled apartments, but no one knows when that will exactly occur.
Here are some facts: At one point in the early 1950’s there were over two million rent controlled apartments. The 1993 Housing and Vacancy Survey (HVS) reported 101,798 rent controlled apartments. The 1996 HVS reported 70,572. The most recent HVS, from 2014, found about 27,000 rent control apartments remaining in NYC.
There is no reliable rate of units leaving rent-controlled status per year. The factors that most influence the rate that rent-controlled units move into stabilization are:
If your building was constructed prior to February 1, 1947 and has at least three units, you may indeed be in a rent controlled apartment. Contact NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), the state agency which administers the rent laws, to find out.
HCR can also tell you what increases were allowed over the years and assess if your rent is correct. HCR sets the annual increases for rent controlled apartments. For rent controlled apartments, any "family member" of the tenant may have the right to protection from eviction when the tenant dies or permanently leaves the apartment.
Under the rent control rules, you could take over or "succeed" to the apartment only if you had lived with your mother for the two-year period immediately preceding her passing or departure from the apartment, or, if you are a senior citizen or are disabled, you only had to have lived with your mother for one year. For more information, see HCR Fact Sheet #30: Succession Rights.
Succession rights are also discussed in our Succession Rights FAQ.
The landlord may initially ask any rent that the market may bear, subject to the tenant’s right to file a Fair Market Rent Appeal (See HCR Fact Sheet #6: Fair Market Rent Appeals).
The new tenant has the right to file a Fair Market Rent Appeal within 90 days after receiving a special notice about this right from the landlord. However, even if the owner does not provide notice, the tenant must act within four years of time that the rent controlled tenancy ended. For more information contact NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR).
If the HCR receives a timely Fair Market Rent Appeal, it will consider the "special guideline" promulgated by the Rent Guidelines Board in setting a new rent. To review the current special guideline, see the most recent Apartment Guidelines. The HCR may also consider rents for comparable apartments which have undergone decontrol. Typically, both factors are given equal weight. If no "comparables" are submitted by the owner, the HCR will rely exclusively on the special guideline. The HCR may also add rent increases based upon individual apartment improvements or major capital improvements.
Due to high rent deregulation laws now in effect, if the legal rent exceeds a certain level, it may be subject to deregulation. For more information, see our Deregulation FAQ.
This is called High-Rent/Vacancy and High-Rent/High-Income Deregulation. Visit our Deregulation FAQ.
For more information, contact NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR).