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Is there a difference between Rent Control and Rent Stabilization?
Yes. While rent control and rent stabilization both involve rent regulation, they have different sets of regulations. According to the 2017 NYC Housing and Vacancy Survey, there are about 22,000 rent controlled apartments vs. about 966,000 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.
What is the status of rent control?
Rent control covers about 22,000 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. However, the apartment may instead be fully deregulated if: 1) It is in a building with five or fewer apartments; or 2) It rents for at least $2,700 ($2,733.75 in 2018; $2,774.76 in 2019). 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.
When will we see the last rent controlled apartment?
The long-term trend is towards zero rent-controlled apartments, but no one knows when that will exactly occur.
Here are some stats: In the early 1950's, there were over two million rent controlled apartments. By 1993, the number had fallen to about 103,000 units. And most recently, according to the 2017 NYC Housing and Vacancy Survey (HVS), there were about 22,000 rent controlled apartments remaining in New York City.
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:
We have continuously occupied our apartment since 1962 - how do I know if it's rent controlled and if I have the right to stay?
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.
My mother passed away - can I continue to live in her controlled 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 Frequently Asked Questions page.
The prior tenant was rent controlled. How much can the rent be increased?
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 Frequently Asked Questions page.
How does the Landlord legally increase the rent to over a certain amount and thereby deregulate a formerly rent regulated apartment?