This section contains information on the following:
- New leases
- Adding other persons to your lease
- Lease renewal
- Lease increase information
- Preferential rent lease information
New Leases, Payments, Deposits and Surcharges
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:
Owners are not required to accept rent checks signed from anyone who is not the primary tenant on record.
For additional information:
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.
Adding Persons or Pets & Subletting
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.
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
For detailed information about adding spouses, domestic partners or family members, please see:
Opinion Letter #COL-1906: Adding a Non Spouse's Name to Lease
Summary - Adding a Non-Spouse's Name to the Lease
Opinion Letter #COL-1416: Domestic Partnership Certificate and Succession
Summary - Domestic Partnership Certificate and Succession
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 :
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.
For exceptions to pet clauses in leases, please see:
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:
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:
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.
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:
Apartment/building improvement increases
Major Capital Increase (MCI) or Individual Apartment Increase (IAI)
Please see the MCI and IAI section below:
This document provides general information regarding the rights and responsibilities of owners and tenants when renewing leases in Rent Stabilized Apartments
Guide to Rent Increases for Rent Stabilized Apartments
Tenants can use this form to submit a complaint when the apartment owner does not renew the lease or provide a copy of the signed lease.
Form for ETPA or Rent Stabilized tenants to submit complaints when a lease is not renewed in Westchester County.
Emergency Tenant Protection Act standard lease addenda for rent stabilized tenants.
Where a rent reduction order, based upon a reduction of services is still in effect, the owner may not collect any rent increase for the affected housing accommodation, including an increased security deposit for a barred renewal lease increase.