Raising the Rent in New York Just Got Difficult

rent hike


Last week, New York State’s Home and Community Renewal (HCR) agency released a set of new regulations that aims to strengthen New York’s rent stabilization laws. The 27 new rule changes will make it more difficult for landlords to increase the rent and make it easier for tenants to fight back.

It’s been a landlord’s market these last couple of years. The demand and shortage of rental housing that followed 2007’s housing crisis gave landlords the opportunity to hike up rents in competitive markets like New York City, San Francisco, and Boston. While rental property owners have been able to enjoy record-low vacancy rates, they’ve also been using loopholes in state rent stabilization code that has allowed them to raise rents and evict tenants.

The loss of affordable housing and violation of rent stabilization codes has resulted in 27 new rules to the existing Rent Act, changes which include:

  • More transparency from landlords when raising the rent. Landlords will have to provide information showing how rents were raised.
  • Greater penalties for landlords who don’t register rent amounts for regulated units.
  • Expansion of the definition of harassment to encourage more residents to take action against discriminatory practices.
  • Protection of the right of the tenant to a lease renewal.
  • Establishment of the Tenant Protection Units (TPU), which investigates and prosecutes violations of rent laws and helps tenants challenge rents.
  • Tenant ability to file a rent decrease request to the state before notifying the building of issues.

You can read a complete list of the amendments on the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s website.

Not all landlords are happy to hear about the changes. One New York lawyer who specializes in representing both landlord and tenants told the Wall Street Journal that the new rules are anti-landlord. Landlords who proposed changes to the rent stabilization code say they didn’t see any take effect.

New York’s amendments to the rent stabilization code have greater implications. Cities like San Francisco are seeing a similar problem, where landlords are taking advantage of California’s Ellis Act to evict tenants. Revisions to New York’s rental laws may set a precedent for change as low-income renters get pushed out of major metropolitan areas due to the lack of affordable housing.

From: Zillow