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Rent Regulated Apartments and the Housing Stability And Tenant Protections Act of 2019

The New York State Senate, together with the State Assembly and Governor Andrew Cuomo has approved a sweeping overhaul of New York State’s rent laws, offering Tenants new protections against evictions and rent increases, effective June 14, 2019. This law makes permanent the state's rent regulation laws, initially passed as chapter 576 of the laws of 1974, including the Emergency Tenant Protection Act of 1974 (ETPA), which provided the process by which local governments declared a housing emergency, and by which they administer their rent regulation program.

Below are just a few of the provisions which have been implemented and/or repealed for cities over a million people, regarding the ability of landlords to increase rents:

  • Repeals the provisions of the previous statute that currently allow units to be deregulated upon vacancy. (Previously a unit would be deregulated when the rent reached $2,744 in New York City, as well as if the tenants earn more than $200,000 per year for more than two years)

  • Repeals the statutory vacancy bonus, which allows landlords of rent regulated units to collect an automatic increase in rent of up to 20 percent on vacancy, together with the vacancy longevity bonus, which allowed landlords of rent regulated units that have not claimed a vacancy increase for eight or more years to collect an automatic rent increase of 0.6 percent multiplied by the number of years since the last vacancy.

  • Prohibits owners who offer tenants a "preferential rent," (or rent below the legal regulated rent), from discontinuing the use of preferential rent or raising the rent to the full legal amount upon lease renewal. Landlords may charge any rent up to the full legal regulated rent once the tenant vacates the unit, as long as the tenant did not vacate due to the owner’s failure to maintain the unit.

  • Limits rent-controlled rent increases to the lesser of: 7.5 percent, or a level equal to the average of the previous five Rent Guideline Board (RGB) increases for one-year stabilized renewal leases.

  • Sets the following periods of time for a landlord to provide notice of refusal to renew, or of a rent increase greater than five percent, based on their period of occupancy: Less than one (1) year requires 30 days prior notice, greater than one but less than two years requires 60 days’ notice, and greater than two (2) years requires 90 days’ notice.

  • Prohibits fuel adjustments or pass-along increases for rent-controlled tenants.

In addition, this statute modified Major Capital Improvement (MCI) Increases and Individual Apartment Improvement (IAI) as follows:

  • Prohibits MCI improvement increases for buildings with 35% or fewer rent-regulated units.

  • Prohibits MCI increases for buildings with outstanding hazardous or immediately hazardous violations of the uniform fire prevention and building code.

  • Caps the annual MCI rent increase at two percent statewide, down from the current six percent in New York City and 15 percent in other counties currently covered by ETPA, and Caps any MCI rent increases approved within the last seven years at the lower percentage beginning in September 2019.

  • Removes MCI increases, IAI increases and RGB increases based on an MCI and IAI after 30 years, instead of allowing them to remain in effect permanently.

  • Strengthens enforcement by requiring that 25% of MCIs and 10% of AIAs be inspected and audited by DHCR annually.

  • Caps the amount of reimbursable IAI spending at $15,000, which may be expended on no more than three individual Apartment improvements (per unit) over a 15 year period.

This publication is issued by Simon Meyrowitz & Meyrowitz, P.C. for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or establish an attorney-client relationship. To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that unless specifically indicated otherwise, any tax advice contained in this publication was not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding tax-related penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any tax-related matter addressed herein. In some jurisdictions, this publication may be considered attorney advertising.

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