Living Conditions

Most Common Rent Regulation Issues for Tenants

Most Common Rent Regulation Issues for Tenants
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Overview

Rent regulated tenants enjoy numerous rights, particularly with respect to rents, leases and services. To exercise these rights you must file the appropriate DHCR application or complaint form.

In this section you can find assistance with:

  • Accessing your apartments rental history
  • Information about limits on rental increases
  • Rent overcharge refund information
  • Rent reductions due to lack of essential services
  • Information about lease renewal options and rights

Access Your Apartments Rental History

Apartment rents are registered annually by building owners with DHCR's Office of Rent Administration (See: Rent Regulated Building Search). Under law, the rent information provided is confidential and can only be released to the apartment's legal tenant, the building owner, or their authorized representative.
You can access the rent history of your apartment in one of the following ways:

  1. You can access your rent history by using "Rent Info - Submit a Question" . The rent history will be printed and mailed directly to the apartment/building address.
  2. Visit a Borough/District Rent Office in person, by appointment only. When visiting, please bring proof of identity (photo ID) and proof of tenancy (copy of lease, rent receipt or utility bill). You will be required to complete an Access to Records form and the rent history will be printed and given to you at the office.
  3. Mail an Access to Records form to the attention of "Records Access Officer" at Gertz Plaza, 92-31 Union Hall Street Jamaica, New York 11433 or by email to [email protected].  You must include proof of tenancy (see above). The rent history will be printed and mailed to you.

Limits on Rent Increases

The Rent Guidelines Boards (one in New York City and one each in Nassau, Westchester, and Rockland counties) set maximum allowable rates for rent increases in stabilized apartments for one and two-year lease renewals. These guideline rates are set once a year and are effective for leases beginning on or after October 1st of each year. If authorized by the respective boards, the guideline rates may be applied to vacancy leases.

Rents can also be increased in one of three ways:

  1. With the written consent of the tenant in occupancy if the owner increases services or equipment or makes improvements to an apartment

  2. Without the written consent of DHCR if the owner increases services or equipment or makes improvements to an apartment while it is vacant

  3. With DHCR approval if the owner installs a building-wide major capital improvement

Overcharge Refunds for Rent Stabilized Tenants

Tenants who believe they were overcharged can file an overcharge complaint online. If DHCR issues a written order that determines an overcharge was collected, the legal rent will be reduced, and the owner will be directed to refund the overcharged amount to the tenant.

For more information on collecting overcharges, visit our Rent Increases and Rent Overcharge page.

 

Rent Increases and Rent Overcharge

Rent Reductions if Owner Fails to Provide Services

Owners must provide required or essential services and make necessary repairs in individual apartments and building-wide. Tenants who experience a decrease in services in their apartment may file a decrease in service complaint online. Tenants who experience a decrease in building-wide services may file form RA-84, Application for a Rent Reduction Based on Building-Wide Service(s), with DHCR.

 

Examples of a decrease in services include defective electrical outlets, a lack of heat/hot water, unsanitary common areas (halls, lobby), and broken door locks. If DHCR grants an order of approval, a written order will be issued that reduces the rent. The rent reduction will remain in effect until services are restored and the owner receives an order of approval from DHCR to restore the rent. 

 

Applications that are filed for conditions that require emergency repair or have caused the tenants to vacate the apartment will be prioritized. For more information on essential services, visit our Living Conditions and Essential Services page.

 

Living Conditions and Essential Services

 

Option to Renew Lease

Tenants must be given an opportunity to renew their lease for one or two year terms on the current terms and conditions. The renewal is to be offered several months in advance of the expiration of the existing lease and at the rates set by the Rent Guidelines Board. Tenants who are not given an opportunity to renew their lease can file a lease complaint online, or mail the completed lease complaint form to DHCR's Office of Rent Administration at 92-31 Union Hall Street, Queens, NY, 11433.  

 

For additional information on leases and the lease complaint forms for New York City and ETPA counties, visit our Leases (Security Deposits, Roommates, Sublets and More) page.

 

Leases (Security Deposits, Roommates, sublets and More)

 

For information on other topics, visit our Tenants page.

 

Tenants