To find out whether or not your apartment is rent stabilized, contact NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), the state agency which administers the rent laws. Ask them if the apartment is or should be rent stabilized, and if it is, ask for a "rent history." Also, if the apartment is rent stabilized, ask your landlord to provide a copy of the rent stabilization "lease rider." If the apartment is rent stabilized, see the answer to the next question.
If you find that your apartment is not rent stabilized, there is no limit on the rent increase that can be charged at the end of your lease. If you have no lease, or your lease has expired, you are considered a "month-to-month" tenant. According to the NYS Attorney General's Office, a NYC landlord may raise the rent of a month-to-month tenant with the consent of the tenant. However, if the tenant does not consent, the landlord can terminate the tenancy by giving appropriate notice (Real Property Law ß232-b). Also read about month-to-month tenancy in the NY State Attorney General's Tenant's Rights Guide.
If you are rent stabilized, your rent can only be increased in accordance with the rent guidelines issued by the Rent Guidelines Board or on a specific ground set forth in the Rent Stabilization Code. The most common grounds for rent increases outside of the annual guidelines are major capital improvement increases, individual apartment increases, increases resulting from high income deregulation (in which case the apartment is no longer stabilized), and increases permitted because of owner hardship. To see how much the rent may increase based on our rent guidelines, refer to our most recent Apartment Order. Rent increases based on other factors, like apartment improvements, can be found in HCR Fact Sheet #26: Guide to Rent Increases for Rent Stabilized Apartments in New York City. Also see HCR's Overcharge FAQ. If you live in a 421-a building, also read our Tax Abatement/Exemption FAQ.
Rents may also increase more than the guidelines allow if you have what is called a preferential rent. Read more about preferential rents below.
Rent laws were most recently renewed effective June 15, 2015, and expire June 15, 2019.
On our web site, we maintain a list of stabilized buildings. However, the RGB does not have any information concerning whether any particular apartment is rent stabilized.
The only way to know if your apartment is rent stabilized is to contact NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), the state agency which administers the rent laws.
No, unless there is currently a lease in effect. When a lease expires, or if there is no lease in effect, an owner of an unregulated apartment may charge what the market will bear. Of course, it is always worthwhile to check to see if the apartment was, if previously regulated, lawfully deregulated. For example, if the apartment rents for over $2,700 and the prior tenant paid $800, the increase may only be justified by legal adjustments, such as the vacancy allowance and individual apartment improvement increases. To determine if the increase to a deregulated level was lawful, contact NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), the state agency which administers the rent laws, and ask for a rent history.
If you have no lease, or your lease has expired, you are considered a "month-to-month" tenant. According to the NYS Attorney General's Office, a New York City landlord may raise the rent of a month-to-month tenant with the consent of the tenant. However, if the tenant does not consent, the landlord can terminate the tenancy by giving appropriate notice (Real Property Law ß232-b). You may wish to read further on this issue by reading the NY State Attorney General's Tenant's Rights Guide.
There is no central place for finding available rent stabilized apartments. They are typically offered like other apartments, through word-of-mouth; brokers; on-line listings; etc. Take a look at our Apartment Hunting page for more information on finding an apartment.
We also have a list of stabilized buildings, but it is not comprehensive, and does not list which apartments in these buildings are rent stabilized. We do not have information on apartment availability, nor do we have ownership information. You will have to contact the building owner or managing agent yourself to check on the availability of a particular apartment. The name and contact information of the owner or managing agent is frequently posted in the lobby of a building. You can also obtain owner information by visiting HPD Online and NYC Dept. of Finance Automated City Register Information System (ACRIS).
No. According to the NYS Division of Housing and Community Renewal (HCR), the state agency that administers the rent laws, cash, money orders, personal checks and cashier's checks are all valid ways to pay your rent, but your landlord cannot demand a specific form of payment unless the tenant agrees to it in a stipulation in Housing Court.
Landlords must provide tenants with a written receipt when rent is paid in cash, a money order, a cashier's check or in any form other than personal check of a tenant. Where a tenant pays the rent by personal check, they may request in writing a rent receipt from the landlord. The receipt must state the payment date, the amount, the period for which the rent was paid, and the apartment number. The receipt must be signed by the person receiving the payment and state his or her title. (Real Property Law §§235-e)
Yes. Under the Emergency Tenant Protection Act (ETPA), each New York County with rent stabilized housing has its respective Rent Guidelines Board. We suggest you contact NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), the state agency which administers the rent laws, to find out the most recent guidelines for your county.
If, when you renew your rent stabilized lease, the rent you're actually charged increases more than the guidelines seem to allow, you might have what is called a preferential rent. For more information, please see the answer to the next question.
A preferential rent is a rent which an owner agrees to charge that is lower than the legal regulated rent that the owner could lawfully collect. Owners can decide to terminate the preferential rent and charge the higher legal regulated rent upon renewal of the lease or when that tenant permanently vacates the apartment. However, the rent laws impose a condition on an owner’s right to charge the claimed legal regulated rent. The legal regulated rent must have been written in the vacancy or renewal lease in which the preferential rent was first charged. In addition, HCR recommends that the legal rent be indicated in all subsequent renewal leases.
For instance, if the legal rent is $1,200 but the landlord charges a preferential rent of $1,000, the increase upon renewal may be based on the legal rent of $1,200. Thus, if the tenant chooses a one-year lease renewal and the guideline increase is, for example, 2% for a two-year lease, the tenant in this situation may face an increase of as much as $224, raising the maximum allowable rent to $1,224.
For more complete information, and further examples of allowable rent increases, read HCR Fact Sheet #40: Preferential Rents
The only way you can ascertain the legal rent is to contact NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), and ask for a determination or a review of their records on the apartment in question.
See also the response to the above question.
When you sign a stabilized lease a stabilization "Lease Rider" should be attached to your lease. The lease rider should contain the previous rent (according to the landlord) and the reasons why it was increased.
It is not possible to get an official rent figure for the previous tenant (unless you ask the previous tenant himself/herself) until you move into the apartment. For confidentiality reasons, NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), will not give you the rent history for the apartment until you sign a lease. Thus, if you like the apartment and it is stabilized, move in and then get the previous rent. If it seems inaccurate or incorrect, you can file a rent overcharge complaint with HCR.
If the prior tenant was rent controlled you may consider filing a Fair Market Rent Appeal (FMRA). This may or may not result in the finding of a rent overcharge depending upon the various factors used in calculating the new rent. See HCR Fact Sheet #6: Fair Market Rent Appeals . Also, your apartment may have undergone high rent deregulation. Thus, if the prior tenant paid $1,000 per month and the landlord took the vacancy allowance and made substantial improvements to bring the legal rent over $2,700, the apartment may no longer be subject to rent regulation, and an increase to $3,000 or $4,000, or any higher amount may be lawful.
However, you may have been overcharged. HCR is the agency which administers the rent laws and they can determine whether you are being overcharged.
To qualify as an MCI, the improvement or installation must:
To be eligible for a rent increase, the MCI must be a new installation and not a repair to old equipment. For example, an owner may receive an MCI increase for a new boiler or a new roof but not for a repaired or rebuilt one. Some procedures qualify as MCI's as well, such as "pointing" and "waterproofing."
When the owner submits an MCI rent increase application to NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), the state agency which administers the rent laws, they notify the tenants and gives them an opportunity to submit objections to the application. The HCR will issue an order either granting an increase in whole or in part or denying the increase. The rent increase is a permanent addition to the legal regulated rent (there may also be temporary rent increases too, see below). No increase may be charged or collected unless and until HCR issues an order approving the Increase. In addition, an owner cannot collect an MCI increase from a tenant for whom HCR has determined that "required services" are not being maintained; or from a tenant who has a rent reduction order in place. No MCI rent increase will be approved while a building-wide service reduction order is in effect.
For rent stabilized apartments in NYC, the rent increase collectible in any one year may not exceed 6% of the tenant's rent, as listed on the schedule of monthly rental income filed with the owner's application, for both the permanent prospective increase and the temporary retroactive portion. The temporary retroactive increase covers the time period between the tenant's date of notification and the agency's approval order. Increases above the 6% cap can be spread forward to future years. For all rent controlled apartments and for stabilized apartments outside NYC, the permanent increase collectible in any one year may not exceed 15% of the tenant's rent as of the issue date of the order.