Living Conditions

Living Conditions and Essential Services

Living Conditions and Essential Services
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OVERVIEW

Under the Rent Regulation law, an owner must provide tenants with required or essential services, and maintain equipment. This includes repairs, heat, hot and cold water, maintenance, painting and janitorial services, elevator service, and ancillary services such as garage and recreational facilities.

This may include services that were provided but not registered by the owner on the Form #RR-1i - Initial Apartment Registration or, the Form #RR-3i - Initial Building Services Registration.

FAQs

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, on July 1, 2019, a tenant’s rent is $1000.00. On October 1, 2019, when the tenant’s two-year renewal lease begins, the legal regulated rent increases by 2.5% to $1025.00 per month. When a rent reduction is ordered on December 1, 2019, the rent will be reduced to $1000.00 per month. However, where the most recent guideline adjustment/increase is 0% for a one-year lease and the rent remains 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.

Similarly, tenants who receive a rent reduction order during the term of their vacancy lease will also have their rent frozen as opposed to reduced. An exception to this would be in those situations where the Rent Guidelines Board authorizes the collection of a guideline increase for a vacancy lease and this increase was added to the tenant’s vacancy lease rent.

No increase will be allowed until a DHCR rent restoration order is issued. For more information, 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 sent by certified mail at least eight days prior to the proposed access date, with a return receipt requested. For more information, see Fact Sheet #14.

 

3) What options does a tenant have when an owner is not maintaining services?

If services are not being maintained, it is recommended but not required, for the tenant to first inform the owner in writing. If the written notice does not resolve the problem, the tenant may file a complaint with DHCR. For an individual complaint about apartment conditions, the tenant may file form RA-81, Application For A Rent Reduction Based Upon Decreased Service(s) – Individual Apartment.

For complaints about building-wide conditions, the tenant may file form RA-84, Application For a Rent Reduction Based Upon Decreased Building – Wide Service(s). For complaints about heat or hot water, the tenant may file form HHW-1, Failure to Provide Heat and/or Hot Water – Tenant Application for Rent Reduction. Complaints about apartment conditions or heat and/or hot water may be submitted online here. For more information, see Fact Sheet #14.

Note- Because the owner is responsible for maintaining services and equipment, the tenant cannot act independently to replace any equipment. The tenant must first receive permission from the owner by entering into a mutual consent agreement.

 

4) 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 to http://www.fcc.gov/digital-television.

For more information, see Fact Sheet #3, and Fact Sheet #14.

Fire Damaged/Vacate Order Apartments

Where a tenant must vacate a rent-regulated apartment because of a fire or vacate order issued by a government agency, is the owner entitled to a rent increase where the apartment has been restored and the subject tenant moves back in?

Not where the owner simply restores the apartment to its previous condition. This is true even where the owner has not been fully reimbursed by insurance proceeds. However, where the owner installs new equipment not previously provided in the apartment, such owner can charge an IAI rent increase, but only if the tenant moving back in provides the owner with her written consent to the rent increase. If written consent is not provided, then the rent cannot be increased.

Where the tenant decides not to move back into the apartment, and a new tenant is going to move in, then the owner would be entitled to add the IAI rent increase for any new piece of equipment not previously provided where such prior tenant did not provide written consent. However, this rent increase would only apply to new equipment not previously provided in the apartment, not the cost of restoring the apartment to its previous condition.

Electrical Conversion - From Master to Individual Meters

Please see operational bulletins below for guidance.

Also see: Home Energy Fair Practices Act (HEFPA)

Fact Sheets

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    Fact Sheet #3: Required and Essential Services

    An owner must provide and maintain services and equipment furnished or required by Rent Control or Rent Stabilization regulations. Required or essential services include repairs, heat, hot and cold water, maintenance, painting and janitorial services, elevator service and ancillary services such as garage and recreational facilities.

     

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    Fact Sheet #35: Collectibility of Major Capital Improvement

    Rent stabilization codes authorizes tenants to apply to the Office of Rent Administration for a reduction of the legal regulated rent to the level in effect prior to the most recent guidelines adjustment, and provides that such order reducing the rent bars the owner from applying for or collecting any further rent increases until the services are restored.

     

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    Fact Sheet #37: De Minimis Conditions in Building

    Certain conditions complained of as constituting a decrease in a required service may have only a minimal impact on tenants, do not affect the use and enjoyment of the premises, and may exist despite regular maintenance of services. Such conditions are de minimis in nature.

     

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Forms

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    Form #RA-84: Application for Rent Reduction - Building Wide Services

    Use this form to complain about decreased building-wide service(s) which you have not already reported to us.  First, be sure to notify the owner in writing of all the service decreases in this application.  If you do not send a letter to the owner or agent and attach a copy with proof of mailing, the owner will be given additional time to respond to your complaint.

     

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    Form #84.1: Supplemental Signature & Affirmation

    This form is a supplement to the application for a rent reduction based upon decreased building-wide service(s).  If you are joining in this complaint, you must indicate the status of your apartment by checking the appropriate box; either "RS" if your apartment is rent-stabilized, or "RC" if your apartment is rent-controlled.

     

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    Form #HHW-1: Failure to Provide Heat & Hot Water

    New York State Law requires that hot water be provided 365 days per year, 24 hours a day at a minimum of 120 degrees Fahrenheit at the tap. In New York City, if a tub or shower is equipped with an anti-scald valve that prevents the hot water temperature from exceeding 120 degrees Fahrenheit, the minimum hot water temperature for that tub or shower is 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

     

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Policy Statement

Submit Application for Decreased Services

Affected Tenants may submit an online application on the HCR website at:

Online Application for Decreased Services