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Leases and Rent Increases

Leases and Rent Increases
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OVERVIEW

This section contains information on the following:

  • New leases
  • Adding other persons to your lease
  • Lease renewal
  • Lease increase information
  • Preferential rent lease information

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

1) How much of an increase in rent will I have to pay in NYC when my lease is renewed?

The owner may charge a rent increase based on guidelines promulgated by the applicable Rent Guidelines Board. In certain instances, the rent increase may be calculated to include applicable Major Capital Improvement or Individual Apartment Improvement increases. For more information, see Fact Sheet #26 and/or the NYC Rent Guidelines Board's website for the current guideline information.

 

2) Do I have a right to renew my lease?

Tenants in rent stabilized apartments have a right to select a one- or two-year renewal lease term. Generally, the renewal lease must keep the same terms and conditions as the expiring lease. For more information, see Fact Sheet #4.

 

3) Under rent stabilization in NYC, when must the renewal lease be offered?

The owner must give written notice of renewal by mail or personal delivery not more than 150 days and not less than 90 days before the existing lease expires. A failure of the tenant to respond within 60 days of the offering may lead to eviction proceedings. For more information, see Fact Sheet #4.

 

4) What if my owner does not offer me a renewal lease?

A tenant should first contact the owner to obtain a lease. If the owner fails to provide a renewal lease, the tenant has a right to file a complaint with DHCR on form RA-90, Tenant's Complaint Of Owner's Failure To Renew Lease And/Or Failure To Furnish A Copy of A Signed Lease. For more information, see Fact Sheet #4.

 

5) Are the spouses in lawfully performed same sex marriages, entitled to the same rent protections applicable to spouses in lawfully performed opposite sex marriages?

Yes. This will broaden the scope of both how succession rights can apply and the right to include the name of a spouse on the lease.

 

6) Does a tenant in a rent stabilized apartment have the right to add their spouse's name to the lease?

Yes. The tenant has the right to request that the owner add the name of his or her spouse to the lease as an additional tenant, if the spouse resides in the apartment as a primary residence. The owner is required to add the additional names at the time of lease renewal. There is no rent increase associated with this change, other than the approved renewal lease increase rates in effect at the time of renewal.

 

7) Is the landlord permitted to collect additional security deposit money at the time of a lease renewal, while a DHCR rent reduction order is in effect?

Yes, provided that the landlord has offered, and the tenant has accepted a lease renewal. This includes rent reductions for fire damaged or vacant order apartments where the rent has been reduced to $1.00.

 

8) My building owners thought that I no longer used my apartment as my primary residence due to my annual winter residency in Florida. As a result, they did not offer me a timely lease renewal. However, they failed to prove this in court and now have to offer me a renewal lease. When does it commence and what are my rights?

In New York City, renewal leases are required to be offered between 90 and 150 days prior to the expiration of a lease.

In this situation, the owners would offer a renewal lease less than 90 days prior to the expiration of the existing lease. Therefore, the tenant has the option of requesting that the lease be dated to start on (1) the date a renewal lease would have begun had a timely offer been made or (2) on the first rent payment date occurring at least 90 days after the date that the owner does offer the lease to the tenant.

The guideline increase to be charged can never be more than the rate in effect on the date in option (1). Whether the tenant chooses option (1) or (2), the new rent shall not go into effect before the first rent payment date occurring at least 90 days after the offer is made. For more information, see Fact Sheet #4.

While primary residence issues are exclusively determined by the courts, the rent stabilization code mentions several factors to be taken into consideration when making a determination. These factors include but are not limited to the addresses on tax returns, motor vehicle registrations, driver licenses, voting addresses, and occupancy of a housing accommodation of less than 183 days.

 

9) My first lease contained a provision that prohibited the possession of pets on the rental property. However, I bought a dog and it has been living in the apartment with me for four years. The owner is threatening to not renew my lease and/or to evict me because of my insistence on keeping my pet. What are my rights?

The right to own a pet is determined largely by lease provisions but is also subject to N.Y.C Admin. Code Sec. 27-2009.1, commonly called the “Pet Law.” Issues arising under the Pet Law are not decided by this agency. Matters that cannot be settled between the parties should be brought to court.

The Pet Law provides in part that where a tenant harbors a pet for three months or more and the owner or his/her agent has knowledge of this fact, but fails within this three month period to proceed to court to enforce the lease provision that prohibits pets, the lease provision shall be deemed waived.

However, the lease provision cannot be waived if the pet damages the premises, creates a nuisance, or interferes with the health, safety, or welfare of other tenants.

To view Section 27-2009.1 (page 12) of the Housing Maintenance Code, click here.

New Leases, Payments, Deposits and Surcharges

Lease Documents


Rent Stabilization

When a person rents a rent stabilized apartment for the first time, the owner and the tenant sign what is called a VACANCY LEASE, which states the terms and conditions of the lease, including the length of the lease, and the rights and responsibilities of the tenant and the owner.

You are entitled to:


A one or two-year lease

In addition, the Vacancy Lease Rider/Addenda completed by the owner must be attached.


For more information on ‘Vacancy Leases’ and vacancy lease calculations please see:

Fact Sheet #40: Preferential Rents

 

Payments

Owners are not required to accept rent checks signed from anyone who is not the primary tenant on record.

For additional information:

 

Security Deposits

When a person initially rents an apartment, the owner may collect a security deposit.

The amount of a security deposit for rent regulated apartments can be no more than one month's rent.

The security deposit must be kept by the owner in an interest bearing account in a New York State bank.

 

More information about Security Deposits:

Fact Sheet #9: Renting an Apartment - Security Deposits and other Charges – Explains everything you need to know about security charges and other expenses you may encounter when renting a new rent stabilized apartment.

 
Surcharges & Fees

Find more information on this topic in the Surcharges and Fees section.

Surcharges and Fees

 

 

 

Adding Persons or Pets & Subletting

Roommates

When only one tenant is named on a lease, the tenant has the right to take in a roommate and the roommate's dependent children.

When two or more tenants are named on the lease, the number of tenants and roommates cannot exceed the number of tenants named in the lease.

In all situations, occupancy may be restricted in order to comply with municipal regulations concerning overcrowding.

 

Rent Stabilized Roommates

In a rent stabilized apartment, the rent collected from the roommate cannot exceed their proportionate share of the apartment. For example, the roommate can’t be charged more than half of the total rent.

The roommate can be advised to file a complaint of rent overcharge with the Office of Rent Administration if they were charged in excess of that proportionate share.

 

Rent Control Roommates

In a rent controlled apartment, a roommate may not be charged an amount of rent that is in excess of the legal rent for the apartment.

Any determination of a rent overcharge is under the jurisdiction of the civil court.

 

 

Spouses

A tenant can add his or her spouse to the lease or any lease renewal if the apartment is the primary residence of said spouse, without creating a new tenancy or incurring any vacancy rent increases.

 

Domestic Partners & Family Members

If a tenant adds additional names of any non-spouse, including family or domestic partners, the owner is entitled to a vacancy rent increase.

However, if the primary tenant permanently vacates the apartment, domestic partners or family members may have succession rights.
See
Fact Sheet #30: Succession Rights Protection for Tenants

 

 

Subletting

A tenant who sublets an apartment to another person is the prime tenant. The person to whom the apartment is sublet is the subtenant. In a sublet situation, the prime tenant must abide by the rent stabilization rules that govern the building owner.

 

To learn the proper procedures for legally subletting an apartment, please see :

Fact Sheet #7: Sublets Assignments & Illusory Tenancies

 

Pets

The ability to have a pet in a rent stabilized or rent controlled apartment is largely dependent upon the lease.

Owners cannot charge pet registrations or fees as this would constitute increased rent and owners cannot increase rent outside of the legal rent increases.

 

 

Lease Renewal Documents

For rent stabilized apartment

Tenants in rent stabilized apartments have a right to select a one or two year renewal lease term. Generally, the renewal lease must keep the same terms and conditions as the expiring lease.


For more information, please see:

Fact Sheet #4: Lease Renewal in Rent Stabilized Apartments

 

The owner must give written notice of renewal by mail or personal delivery not more than 150 days and not less than 90 days before the existing lease expires.

If a tenant has not received the renewal lease within the specified time, that tenant should first contact the owner to obtain a lease. If the owner fails to provide a renewal lease, the tenant has a right to file a complaint with the Office of Rent Administration (ORA) on form:

Form - Rent - Failure to Renew Lease or Provide a Copy of a Signed Lease - Tenant Complaint Form - RA-90

 

Failure to sign and return your lease renewal within 60 days can be grounds for eviction. The owner can request that ORA mediate the issue. Mediation is used to resolve the problem without the owner having to go to court.

 

 

For rent controlled apartments

Tenants in rent controlled apartments are not obligated to sign a lease.

 

 

 

Lease Increases

General Rent Increases

The owner may charge a rent increase based on guidelines annually announced by the applicable Rent Guidelines Board.

 

For more information, see:

Fact Sheet #26: Guide to Rent Increases for Rent Stabilized Apartments in New York City

 

 

Apartment/building improvement increases

Major Capital Increase (MCI) or Individual Apartment Increase (IAI)

Please see the MCI and IAI section below:

Individual Apartment and Capital Improvements

 

Fact Sheets

  •  

    Fact Sheet #40: Preferential Rents

    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. This document explains preferential rent in more detail.

     

    Download

Forms