Tenant and Shareholder Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. The terms of your lease require that you advise your management office of any additions to or deletions from your household promptly. HCR regulations require that the notification be made in writing within 90 days after the change takes place.
- What are my responsibilities with respect to reporting my income?
All tenants in HCR supervised Mitchell-Lama developments are required to report their income, and the income of all household members, annually and to comply with housing company requests for documentation. Tenants in federally-assisted developments are subject to HUD's annual income re-certification requirements. Tenants in non-federally-assisted developments are subject to HCR's annual income review procedure.
- I already submitted a copy of my New York State taxes last year with my income affidavit. Why must I now submit a certified copy of my NYS taxes?
Your income determines whether or not you should pay a surcharge on top of your rent/maintenance charges and how much of a surcharge you will be assessed. When you are notified that you must submit a certified copy of your New York State taxes, this is because the information supplied did not exactly match the information New York State Taxation and Finance has on file. Therefore, your name appears on a discrepancy report and that discrepancy must be resolved in order to accurately assess your rent/maintenance charge. To resolve the discrepancy, management must verify the information you supplied by collecting a certified copy of your New York State taxes. To determine the exact nature of the discrepancy, you should contact your management agent.
- After filing my income affidavit late, management agreed to removed the 50% surcharge going forward but could not remove the surcharge already billed. Is this correct?
Yes. When a tenant who is subject to HCR's annual income review procedure fails to submit a completed income affidavit, or necessary documentation, management is required to give the tenant one month's notice that a 50% surcharge will be added to the rent. Once the affidavit or documentation is submitted, management is required to recalculate the surcharge on the basis of the submission and the effective date of any resulting rent change should be the first of the following month. Management is not required to waive a surcharge that has already been assessed due to the failure of a tenant to submit the income affidavit on time.
- When I moved into my apartment I was single and have recently married. I would like to add my spouse to my lease but management says that I cannot do this. Why?
As long as the tenant named on the lease remains in residence in a HCR supervised Mitchell-Lama development, additional occupants cannot be added to the lease. If the tenant named on the lease vacates the apartment, the right of a family member to remain in the apartment may be protected by HCR's succession regulations. In order for the family member to be covered by these provisions, he or she must be able to satisfactorily document that this is their primary residence and that he or she has been residing in the apartment with the tenant for two years, or since the inception of the tenancy or the commencement of their relationship. (The rule is changed to one year if the family member is a senior citizen or handicapped.) Documentation must include the income affidavits or re-certification forms filed during the family member's occupancy and, if necessary, the written notice of change to tenant's household (referred to in question 1 above).
- What is the definition of "family member" for the purposes of succession?
HCR's succession regulations define family member as a husband, wife, son, daughter, stepson, stepdaughter, father, mother, stepfather, stepmother, brother, sister, nephew, niece, uncle, aunt, grandfather, grandmother, grandson, granddaughter, father-in-law, mother-in- law, son-in-law, or daughter-in-law of the tenant. The definition of a family member also includes any other person residing with the tenant in the apartment as a primary or principal residence, who can prove emotional and financial commitment and interdependence between herself or himself and the tenant.
- What is the rent increase process and what part do I play?
- I am a senior citizen and cannot afford a rent increase. Is there any help for me?
The Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) program for tenants in Mitchell-Lama developments is administered by the New York City Housing Preservation and Development. For more information, you may call 311 or view the below link: New York City Housing Preservation and Development SCRIE program
- I am disabled and cannot afford a rent increase. Is there any help for me?
The Disability Rent Increase Exemption (DRIE) program for tenants in Mitchell-Lama developments is administered by the New York City Housing Preservation and Development. For more information, view the below link: New York City Department of Finance DRIE program
Buyout Frequently Asked Questions
"Mitchell-Lama" developments are affordable housing projects organized under Articles 2 and 4 of the Private Housing Finance Law, and supervised by the New York State Homes and Community Renewal ("HCR"). A "buy-out" occurs when the project pays off its mortgage and is removed from HCR's supervision as a Mitchell-Lama. Under the law, a Mitchell-Lama has the right to buy out after 20 years. The technical term for "buy-out" is "dissolution."
Your apartment will probably be subject to regulation if it was built before January 1, 1974, and is located in New York City, or Nassau, Westchester, or Rockland counties, in which case it is likely subject to either the New York City Rent Stabilization Law or the New York State Emergency Tenant Protection Act (ETPA), and therefore regulated by HCR's Office of Rent Administration. Otherwise, your apartment will no longer be subject to government regulation, unless the building goes under some other government subsidy program.
HCR has promulgated regulations to assure that all residents and the public receive full advance disclosure of plans to dissolve, that there is a smooth transition of management, and that the housing company complies with all legal requirements prior to dissolution. No earlier than 365 days prior to the anticipated date of dissolution, the housing company must apply to HCR for permission to dissolve by submitting a "Notice of Intent." The 365 day requirement, and others mentioned below, may be altered by HCR depending on the unique circumstances of each housing development.
Is there a requirement that the public be notified?
After HCR has reviewed and accepted the material filed with the Notice of Intent, no earlier than 90 days prior to the anticipated date of dissolution, the housing company must serve a Notice of Public Meeting by door delivery to each tenant, and by certified or registered mail to HCR and to the:
State Senator and Member of the Assembly for the district in which the project is located;
Mayor and local Legislative Member for the project, if any; and
President or Chairperson of the tenants' association or council.
The notice must specify the day, date, time and place of a public meeting to be conducted by the housing company. The meeting must be conducted between 10 and 20 days of the Notice, and at least 60 days prior to the anticipated date of dissolution.
A housing company seeking to dissolve a rental housing company may not charge or assess the costs of complying with the regulations, including the payment of required fees, to the operational or capital expenses of the company. These costs cannot be reflected in any rental charge or increase for any tenant of the housing development. The housing company must file an affidavit certifying compliance with these requirements with the Notice of Intent.
The following answers only apply to projects subject to rent regulation under the New York City Rent Stabilization Law or The New York State Emergency Tenant Protection Act.
Landlords may not charge rents above those permitted under guidelines established annually by local Rent Guidelines Boards. There are separate boards in New York City, Nassau, Westchester and Rockland counties. Tenants are entitled to renewal leases and required services, and may not be evicted except on grounds allowed by law.
Tenants may file a complaint with HCR, who can direct owners to comply with the law, reduce rents, and levy fines on owners. HCR is required by law to reduce rents if services are not maintained. If a tenant is overcharged, HCR may assess penalties of interest or treble damages payable to the tenant.
The initial rent will be the rent in effect when Mitchell-Lama regulation ends, including income-related surcharges. That rent will be the base rent upon which all future rent increases are calculated, both for the existing tenant and future tenants. If an existing tenant receives a rental subsidy, and it is terminated on or after dissolution, the owner may charge only what the tenant had paid, not including the subsidy. If an apartment is vacant at the time of dissolution, the rent will be the rent charged to the last tenant, plus rental subsidies, but excluding any income surcharges.
Upon dissolution, Mitchell-Lama leases are replaced by Rent Stabilization leases which provide for the same rent and expiration date as the Mitchell-Lama lease. When the first lease expires, the tenant will have the right to renew for a one or two year term, at the tenant's option, with a rent increase based on the then effective guideline set by the appropriate Rent Guidelines Board. Prior to dissolution, a Mitchell-Lama tenant who does not have a lease should contact the development's office to obtain one. If the tenant is still not able to obtain a lease, the tenant should contact the HCR Housing Management Bureau and ask for the representative assigned to the development.
For air conditioners in place upon dissolution, the electrical charge under Mitchell-Lama will be continued as part of the base rent under Rent Stabilization. For air conditioners installed after the date of dissolution, owners will be entitled to collect the electrical charge authorized by HCR Office of Rent Administration's annual update of Operational Bulletin 84-4.
For garage spaces rented upon dissolution, the parking charge under Mitchell-Lama will be continued, and then increased upon renewal of the apartment lease based on applicable guidelines. For garages spaces initially rented after dissolution, the initial charge will be at market rates, but renewal increases will be limited to applicable guidelines.
Under the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption program ("SCRIE") tenants who are 62 years or older may qualify for full exemption or partial exemption from rent increases if their incomes are below a maximum limit allowed by law and they are paying at least one-third of their income for rent. In New York City, Senior Citizens who receive Public Assistance may also be eligible. For more information, contact the NYC Department of Finance, SCRIE/DRIE Exemption, 59 Maiden Lane, 19th floor New York, New York 10038. Telephone 311.
Tenants who are covered by rent regulation may still bring their complaints to HCR, but to a different part of the agency. Before dissolution, tenants contacted HCR's housing management office. After dissolution, tenants must contact HCR's Office of Rent Administration, whose offices are listed below.