FAQ's - Services and Harassment
1) If a tenant received a service reduction order, how can he or she calculate the reduced rent for a rent stabilized apartment?
On the effective date specified in the Order, the legal regulated rent is reduced to the level in effect prior to the most recent guidelines increase. For example, if the most recent guideline increase was 2% for a two-year lease and the legal regulated rent was $1020.00 per month under a two-year renewal lease beginning on October 1, 2015, a rent reduction ordered on December 1, 2015 would reduce the rent to $1000 per month. However, where the most recent guideline adjustment/increase was 0% for a one-year lease and the rent remained at $1000 per month under the one-year renewal lease, DHCR will not authorize a rent decrease for the tenant, but will “freeze” the rent at the amount being collected, and no increase will be allowed until a DHCR rent restoration order is issued.
See Fact Sheet #14.
2) What can an owner do to obtain necessary access to make necessary repairs and avoid rent decreases or restore a rent reduction?
The owner needs to submit two copies of letters to the tenant attempting to arrange for access. Each letter must be mailed at least eight days prior to the proposed access date, and must be mailed by certified mail, return receipt requested. RSC 2523.4 (d) (2).
3) What services are owners required to provide?
An owner must provide and maintain all services and equipment furnished or required by Rent Control or Rent Stabilization regulations which include repairs, heat and hot water, maintenance, painting and janitorial services. This may include services that were provided but not registered by the owner on the Initial Apartment Registration, form RR-1(i) or, the Initial Building Services Registration, form RR-3 (i). See Fact Sheet #3.
4) What recourse does a tenant have when an owner is not maintaining services?
If services are not being maintained the tenant must first inform the owner in writing. If services are not restored, the tenant may file an Application For A Rent Reduction Based Upon Decreased Service(s) - Individual Apartment (form RA-81) with DHCR based on a decrease of services. See Fact Sheet #14.
5) What can a tenant do when an owner does not comply with a DHCR service reduction order?
If an owner has failed to restore services and/or correct the conditions specified within 30 days after the issuance date of the order, the tenant may file a Tenant Affirmation of Non-Compliance (form RA-22.1), to request that a compliance proceeding be initiated.
6) How are tenants protected from harassment by owners?
Harassment by an owner is a course of action intended to force a tenant out of his/her apartment or to cause a tenant to give up rights granted to the tenant by the Rent Laws.
No owner or anyone acting on behalf of the owner or as the owner's agent may interfere with a tenant's privacy, comfort or quiet enjoyment of the tenant's apartment. Interference includes reducing services or engaging in baseless court proceedings.
Harassment is a serious violation of a tenant's rights. If a tenant believes they are a victim of harassment, they can file a Tenant's Statement of Complaint(s)-Harassment (form RA-60H),with DHCR. Upon a DHCR finding of harassment, a civil penalty may be imposed on the owner. See Fact Sheet #17.
7) The noise and cigarette smoke from the tenant in the apartment next to me is a constant disturbance. What are my rights?
Tenants can contact the owner and ask for assistance, as most standard leases give tenants the right to the "peaceful possession" of the apartment.
Tenants can also contact a local mediation center in order to pursue a mediated resolution with the neighboring tenant.
8) An owner wants to renovate a building and asks the tenant to temporarily relocate. The renovations are not compelled by an emergency situation. Must the tenant relocate?
The tenant does not have to relocate, unless so ordered by DHCR, another government agency or a court.
9) How does a tenant reduce the rent for an order finding a decrease in services, when a preferential rent has been paid by the tenant?
If the tenant's current and prior lease contained a legal rent and also provided for the payment of a preferential rent, the rent is reduced to the prior lease's preferential rent.
If the tenant's current lease only contains a legal rent, even if the prior lease provided for a preferential rent, the rent is reduced to the prior lease's legal rent.
10) Many rent-regulated tenants, who do not have cable television service, receive TV broadcasting through an analog Building Master Television Antenna. Federal law now requires a transition from analog to digital television broadcasting. How does this affect the service of Master Television Antenna, where said antenna is a required service?
The owner needs to find a technological alternative or upgrade, such as a new, updated master antenna, that enables tenants to continue to have television service. Tenants are responsible to purchase, at their expense, analog-to-digital converter boxes for their televisions. For more information on the analog-to-digital switch, log on http://www.fcc.gov/digital-television. See