In general, rent stabilization in New York City applies to buildings of six or more units built between February 1, 1947 and December 31, 1973. Tenants in buildings built before February 1, 1947 who moved in after June 30, 1971, are also covered by rent stabilization. A third category of rent stabilized apartments covers buildings with three or more apartments constructed or extensively renovated on or after January 1, 1974 with special tax benefits. Generally, those buildings are only subject to stabilization while the tax benefits continue or, in some cases, until the tenant vacates. Under the rent stabilization law, rent, services, leases, and evictions are regulated.
Outside of New York City, rent stabilization laws and regulations covers certain localities in Nassau, Westchester, and Rockland counties through the Emergency Tenant Protection Act (ETPA). Generally, it applies to buildings with 6 or more apartments. Any locality in New York State can enact rent stabilization if they issue “a declaration of emergency” regarding available apartments is made.
Owners of rent stabilized buildings both inside and outside of New York City are required to file initial and annual building registrations with the Office of Rent Administration (ORA).
For a detailed explanation of rent stabilization and rent control, the Emergency Tenant Protection Act, and tax incentive programs that are frequently used by owners of rent regulated buildings, see Fact Sheets #1, #8, and #41 in the Fact Sheet section. For information on the grounds for permanent decontrol and exemption from paying administrative fees, see the Policy Statements section.
For information on rent control, visit our Rent Control page.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) Is the owner of rent stabilized apartments required to register the rents?
Yes, the owner must register rents of rent stabilized units with DHCR on an annual basis. See Rent Registration.
2) Who is responsible for paying a 421-a tax benefit - 2.2% surcharge and how is it calculated?
The 2.2% surcharge is collectible primarily from tenants in market rate units in buildings that receive 421-a (subdivision 1-15) tax benefits. It is not collectible from tenants in market rate or income restricted units in buildings that receive 421-a (subdivision 16) tax benefits (Affordable New York Housing Program Benefits).
The 2.2% surcharge is not part of the legal rent and cannot be compounded by Rent Guidelines Board increases for one and two-year leases or by any other lawful rent increases including, but not limited to Major Capital Improvement (MCI) or Individual Apartment Improvement (IAI) rent increases. The 2.2% surcharge can only be charged once a year regardless of how many leases have been executed in any given year. The collection of the 2.2% surcharge is also not affected by a DHCR order reducing rent for decreased services.
The 2.2% surcharge is only collectible if the applicable lease includes a rider that is signed by the tenant, notifying the tenant of the owner’s right to collect the 2.2% surcharge and the approximate date of expiration of the 421-a Benefits. If the owner does not include the rider in a tenant’s vacancy (first) lease, DHCR will allow owners to add it to such tenant’s renewal lease and collect the 2.2% surcharge that could have been charged, prospectively only, plus any future lawful annual surcharges. A subsequent tenant who moves into an apartment during the phase-out of such building’s 421-a Benefits, provided that he or she receives the rider, can be prospectively charged the surcharge amount that had been or could have been charged to the prior tenant, plus any future lawful annual surcharge increases.
The 2.2% surcharge (a) can be increased annually during the phase-out period of the tax abatement up until the date upon which the 421-a Benefits expire, (b) is calculated for each year as a percentage of the actual rent paid by the tenant as of the initial date of the phase out and (c) can never exceed cumulatively 19.8% of the actual rent paid by the tenant on the date that such phase-out began.
The total surcharge assessed upon the expiration of the 421-a Benefits is a fixed final surcharge that may continue to be charged in each year thereafter. However, no additional 2.2% increases can be added to the final surcharge after the 421-a tax benefits expire. The collection of the final surcharge terminates when the tenant who is in occupancy on the date the 421-a benefits expire vacates the apartment.
3) If a tenant is renting an apartment in a building that is a co-op, is he or she rent regulated?
In NYC, a rent regulated tenant that is in occupancy before the conversion to cooperative ownership under a non-eviction plan remains under rent regulation, provided that he or she continues in occupancy as a non-purchasing tenant.
4) The landlord combined two apartments into one and the result is a reduction of the number of units in the building from six to five. Does this deregulate the building and exempt it from rent stabilization?
No. The agency has ruled, and the courts have upheld that the building remains subject to rent stabilization as there were six units on the base date.
5) Do the mistaken filings of rent registrations and rent stabilized leases for a building and its apartments determine that it has rent stabilization status?
No. The agency has ruled, and the courts have upheld that rent stabilization coverage is determined when the statutory criteria is met. Filing erroneous registrations with DHCR or wrongly executing rent stabilized leases does not supersede statute.
6) I have been directed by DHCR to file registrations for prior years that were not complete. How do I register an apartment that became permanently exempt due to a High Rent Vacancy?
As a result of the 2014 Amendments to the Rent Stabilization Code, owners of apartments that became deregulated from rent regulation due to a High Rent Vacancy after January 8, 2014, are legally required to file an annual rent registration form with DHCR indicating the permanently exempt status of the apartment. If the apartment became deregulated from rent regulation prior to January 8, 2014, while it is not legally required, DHCR recommends that owners file an annual registration form with DHCR indicating the permanently exempt status.
This Fact Sheet contains information on the requirements that generally must be met for a building to be considered rent stabilized, or for an apartment to be considered rent controlled. It also contains general information on rent increases, rent overcharges, rent reductions for decreases in services, harassment, and rent registration.
Fact Sheet #8: Emergency Tenant Protection Act of 1974 (ETPA) - Chapter 576 Laws of 1974 as Last Amended
This Fact Sheet contains a summary of the Emergency Tenant Protection Act, a list of all municipalities that have adopted ETPA, and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for municipalities that are considering adopting ETPA.
This Fact Sheet contains information on the tax incentive programs that give tax benefits to owners for meeting certain requirements, such as rehabilitating qualifying systems in existing buildings, constructing new buildings, or creating residential units in previously commercial buildings.
Policy Statement #89-7: Collection of Administrative Fees: Housing Accommodations Permanently Not Subject to the RSL or ETPA and Application Form
This Policy Statement contains information on the legal situations which cause the permanent decontrol of housing accommodations from rent stabilization coverage in New York City and ETPA coverage in ETPA counties. Owners of permanently decontrolled housing accommodations are exempt from paying the administrative fee that is imposed on owners to assist DHCR in covering the cost of administering Rent Stabilization Law or ETPA.