New York City has a system of rent regulations known as "rent stabilization." The system was enacted in 1969 when rents were rising sharply in many post-war buildings. The system has been extended and amended frequently, and now about one million apartments in the City are covered by rent stabilization. Rent stabilized tenants are protected from sharp increases in rent and have the right to renew their leases. The history of rent stabilization can be found in extensive detail in An Introduction to the NYC Rent Guidelines Board and the Rent Stabilization System.
One of the advantages of being a rent stabilized tenant is the statutory right to renew your lease. This right holds with few exceptions, and eviction for owner occupancy by the landlord or a family member is one of the exceptions.
The rent regulation laws allow the landlord of a rent stabilized building to take over one or more apartments for family use. However, he/she must give you 90 to 150 days notice before your existing lease expires that it will not be renewed. In addition, he/she must be able to prove that the apartment will be for family use.
Note that if you are 62 or older or disabled you have additional protections. If you do wish to stay in the apartment, you could simply stay put and wait for the landlord to serve you with eviction papers. The landlord will then have to prove in court that s/he needs the apartment for family use. The court may or may not agree with his or her assessment.
Regarding the number of apartments an owner can take: The Rent Stabilization Law and Code is a little vague about the number of apartments that an owner may occupy: "...only one of the individual owners of any building, whether such ownership is by joint tenancy, tenancy in common, or tenancy by the entirety to recover possession of one or more dwelling units for personal use and occupancy." However, the DHCR informs us that an owner can take more than one unit for the occupancy of his or her relatives.
Contact NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), the state agency which administers the rent laws, for additional information, and see HCR Fact Sheet #10 on Eviction from an Apartment Based on Owner Occupancy
The building may in fact be rent stabilized, even though the rent exceeds $2,700.
In newly constructed or completely rebuilt buildings, many developers take advantage of the City's 421a and J-51 tax exemption programs. In return for the tax exemption, the developer/owner of the building must maintain the units under rent stabilization for the period of the tax exemption, which usually runs 10 to 20 years. More information is available in our Tax Abatement/Exemption FAQ. In the case of new construction, the fact that the rent is over $2,700 does not affect the apartment's stabilization status.
An apartment may also remain rent stabilized even if the rent rises above $2,700 while a tenant remains in occupancy. However, when that occurs, the owner has a right to petition the NY State Division of Housing and Community Renewal to deregulate the apartment. More information on this can be found in the Deregulation FAQ.
Ask the owner if the building is rent stabilized. You may also contact NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) , the agency which administers the rent laws, and ask them if it is, or should be rent stabilized.
If the building is rent stabilized, all of your renewal leases are governed by the lease renewal percentages enacted yearly by the Rent Guidelines Board. See allowable rent guidelines. If your unit is not stabilized, then there are no limits on increases your landlord can charge when the lease expires.
An apartment will remain rent stabilized even if the rent rises above $2,700 while a tenant remains in occupancy and household income is less than $200,000 for the two previous years. However, as the rent reaches $2,700 or more, the owner has a right to petition the NY State Division of Housing and Community Renewal to deregulate the apartment. Information on this can be found in the Deregulation FAQ.
Contact NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) , the agency which administers the rent laws, and ask them if it is, or should be rent stabilized.
Since the management company is trying to sell your apartment, we take it that the building is a co-op or condominium. After a rent stabilized building is converted to a co-op or condominium, renters in place at the time of the conversion are usually allowed to remain under a non-eviction plan. They also have the right to renew their leases, and cannot be kicked out. However, once the rent stabilized tenant moves out, the apartment can either a) be sold; or b) be rented without the protections of rent stabilization. If you were in the building before it was converted to a co-op or condominium, you have the right to remain. However, if you moved in after the building was converted, the apartment is no longer rent stabilized and the management company is not obligated to renew your lease.
The story of the rent laws, and why some buildings and apartments are stabilized and some are not, is described in HCR Fact Sheet #1: Rent Stabilization and Rent Control. In general, if your building has six or more units and is not a condo or co-op, contact NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) , the agency which administers the rent laws, and ask them if your apartment is (or should be) rent stabilized.
If your apartment is indeed stabilized, your landlord is supposed to attach to your lease the Rent Stabilization "Lease Rider." The rider informs you of your rights and responsibilities as a rent stabilized tenant, and includes the prior rent for the apartment, as well as the reasons the rent was increased. You can call the DHCR and file a complaint if your landlord did not provide the Rider. For more information, see HCR Fact Sheet #2: Rent Stabilization Lease Rider .