Rent Stabilization and Emergency Tenant Protection Act

Rent Stabilization and Emergency Tenant Protection Act

ETPA Updates

City of Poughkeepsie Adopts ETPA (Updated 6/20/2024)

 

The City of Poughkeepsie Common Council voted unanimously on June 18, 2024 to adopt rent stabilization measures under New York’s Emergency Tenant Protection Act (ETPA) that will apply to buildings constructed before 1974 that contain 6 or more units. A vacancy survey conducted by the village found that vacancy rates in affected buildings were less than 5 percent, the threshold in New York State to enact stabilization. Additional information will be posted here as it becomes available.

 


 

City of Kingston UPDATE (6/18/2024)

 

UPDATE ON HISTORY OF KINGSTON GUIDELINES AND COURT CHALLENGES

 

On November 9, 2022, the Kingston Rent Guidelines Board (“KRGB”) voted to adopt a fair market rent guideline and an annual rent adjustment guideline for properties in the City of Kingston covered by the Emergency Tenant Protection Act (“ETPA”). The fair market rent guideline provided that a tenant has the right to file a fair market rent appeal with the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (“DHCR”) to seek a refund if his or her rent increased by more than 16% between January 1, 2019 and July 30, 2022. The rent adjustment guideline required that rent charged for one- and two-year leases commencing between August 1, 2022 and September 30, 2023 be reduced by 15% from the base rent.

 

Following the adoption of these guidelines, Hudson Valley Property Owners et al. initiated a proceeding in Ulster County Supreme Court against the City of Kingston,  the Kingston Rent Guidelines Board, and  DHCR, challenging the emergency declaration and the adopted guidelines. The Supreme Court issued a decision in February 2023 from which appeals ensued.

 

On March 21, 2024, the NYS Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department issued a decision where the Court decided that the City’s declaration of emergency was proper and that in this matter, the guidelines do not violate the ETPA.

 

However, the owner has filed a motion for reargument and leave to file another appeal, which Kingston, DHCR and the KRGB has opposed. As such, the litigation remains ongoing.

 

UPDATE ON APPLYING THE  RENT GUIDELINE 15% REDUCTION IN RENT

 

As KRGB’s guidelines are only effective during the applicable guideline year, only tenants in properties covered by the ETPA in the City of Kingston who entered into a one- or two- year lease commencing between August 1, 2022 and September 30, 2023 are entitled to a 15% reduction from the base rent per the guidelines effective for that time. Tenants who did not receive the 15% reduction can file a rent overcharge complaint application (Form RA-89) available at https://rent.hcr.ny.gov/RentConnect/Tenant/RentOverchargeOverview.

 

Under the KRGB’s guidelines, owners are to offer amended leases to these tenants with the 15% reduction. In the absence of this offer, tenants can file rent overcharge complaints with DHCR. If an owner fails to reduce the rent in accordance with the KRGB guidelines, such owner may be found to be responsible for overcharges due to the tenant, which may include treble damages.

 

If the March 21, 2024 Appellate Court decision is overturned on appeal, tenants should be aware that if a tenant entered into a one- or two-year lease commencing between August 1, 2022 and September 30, 2023 and accepts a 15% reduction in rent offered by the owner in accordance with KRGB’s guidelines, the tenant may have to return the total amount of rent reduction received to the owner, including but not limited to, by way of a proceeding in a court of competent jurisdiction.

 

All other tenant protections resulting from the City of Kingston’s adoption of ETPA, including those concerning the maintenance of individual apartment and/or building-wide services, protections from unlawful harassment and evictions, lease violation complaints and the right to file a Fair Market Rent Appeal, remain in place and are unaffected by the current litigation regarding the KRGB guidelines. (Forms are available at https://hcr.ny.gov/tenant-owner-forms). In addition, the requirement for owners to file all annual registrations with DHCR’s Office of Rent Administration remains in effect.

 

City of Kingston UPDATE (3/21/2024)

 

On March 21, 2024, the NYS Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department issued a decision in the case initiated by the Hudson Valley Property Owners et al against the City of Kingston and the Kingston Rent Guidelines Board.

 

The ruling was in favor of the City and the Board. For the full text of the court decision, see State of New York Supreme Court - Opinion and Order for the City of Kingston.

 

The following are several informal highlights of the decision:

 

  • The City’s declaration of emergency was proper.
  • Under the facts of this case, the negative rent adjustments do not violate the ETPA.
  • The Board was not required to engage in a case-by-case assessment when promulgating guidelines.
  • Under the facts of this case, the guidelines are not impermissibly retroactive.

 

This decision is subject to appeal.

 

In addition, we expect the Kingston Rent Guidelines Board will issue a formal order and further guidance will follow. For a review of prior Kingston updates, visit City of Kingston Votes to Adopt the Emergency Tenant Protection Act.

 


 

City of Newburgh UPDATE (4/22/2024)

On April 19, 2024, the NYS Supreme Court, Orange County, ruled that the City of Newburgh's vacancy study was flawed. Therefore, the City of Newburgh's adoption of the Emergency Tenant Protection Act (ETPA) is null and void.

 

Accordingly, DHCR’s prior guidance to owners in the City of Newburgh regarding ETPA registration requirements and related guidance on rents, leases, and services is no longer in effect.

 

At this time, a final judgment has not yet been entered, and we do not know if the Court’s decision will be appealed.

 

For the full text of the Court decision, see State of New York Supreme Court - Opinion and Order for the City of Newburgh.

 

The following is an excerpt of the Court's order:

 

“…Accordingly, Petitioners have demonstrated that the City's calculation of the vacancy rate under its Vacancy Study lacked a rational basis and was calculated in an arbitrary and capricious manner and, consequently, the City's reliance on incorrect, imprecise vacancy data in adopting the Resolution declaring a housing emergency under the ETPA also lacked a rational basis. Having shown that the true vacancy rate exceeded 5.0%, the ETPA is inapplicable as a matter of law, and the Petitioners are entitled to a judgment declaring that the Resolution of December 18, 2023, is null and void and declaring that the adoption of the Emergency Tenant Protection Act rent stabilization in the City of Newburgh is null and void, as requested in the Petition herein…”

 

City of Newburgh UPDATE (3/11/2024)

On Wednesday, March 6, 2024, the Orange County Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the City of Newburgh and the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal from taking certain actions in enforcing the ETPA in Newburgh. This was in response to a court action initiated by the building owners in Newburgh who were challenging the accuracy and findings of a previously taken survey that found the vacancy rate in Newburgh to be less than 5%. The city and state agencies are temporarily restrained from putting certain provisions of the law into place pending a hearing and decision by the court.

 

The order puts on hold any Rent Guidelines Board that may be created for the City of Newburgh from enforcing any rent guideline orders and enjoining the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal from enforcing any Rent Guidelines Board orders that may be adopted.

 

The order provides that owners of housing accommodations subject to the ETPA in the City of Newburgh shall not be required to provide tenants with new vacancy or renewal leases. It also provides that tenants in housing accommodations subject to the ETPA shall have the right to continued occupancy as month-to-month tenants, notwithstanding the expiration of their prior lease or lack of a new lease. In addition, the legal rent that may be charged to tenants in housing accommodations subject to the ETPA shall be the rent charged and paid on the first rent payment on or after December 18, 2023, the date the City of Newburgh declared an emergency pursuant to the ETPA. 

 

With respect to all other tenant protections, they remain in place, including those concerning the maintenance of services and protections from unlawful harassment and evictions. Furthermore, the requirement for owners to file initial apartment registrations as directed in prior letters sent by DHCR’s Office of Rent Administration remains in effect.

 

Previously, the City Council of Newburgh voted unanimously on December 18, 2023 to adopt rent stabilization measures under New York’s Emergency Tenant Protection Act (ETPA), that would apply to buildings constructed before 1974 that contain 6 or more units. A vacancy survey conducted by the city found that vacancy rates in affected buildings were less than 5 percent, the threshold in New York State to enact stabilization. More detailed information is available at https://www.cityofnewburgh-ny.gov/.

 


 

Village of Nyack UPDATE (1/17/2024)

On January 11, 2024, the Village of Nyack Board of Trustees decided that the previous vacancy survey/study conducted was inaccurate and that the vacancy rate may be in excess of 5%. In light of this, the Board voted to declare an end to the local housing emergency, opt out of the ETPA, and declare an intention to conduct a new, more robust survey. More detailed information is available at the Village of Nyack's Resolution to Opt-Out of the ETPA.

 

Previously, the Village of Nyack Board of Trustees voted unanimously on November 9, 2023 to adopt rent stabilization measures under New York’s Emergency Tenant Protection Act (ETPA) that would apply to buildings constructed before 1974 that contain 25 or more units. A vacancy survey conducted by the village found that vacancy rates in affected buildings were less than 5 percent, the threshold in New York State to enact stabilization. At that time, exceptions were created for certain classes of buildings that were identified by the village. More detailed information is available at https://www.nyack-ny.gov/ETPA.

 


 

DHCR is in contact with these municipalities to obtain lists of buildings that are subject to the ETPA. DHCR will initiate communications with building owners and tenants regarding meetings, registrations, rent increases, leases, services, and all aspects of rent regulations and tenant protections.

 

Updated information will be posted on this website as it becomes available.

 

Any information on public information sessions to be held can be found in the Public Information Sessions section on this page.

 

The Rent Guidelines Board will vote to establish rent increase guideline rates, including a Fair Market Rent Guideline, that are specific for rent stabilized apartment leases. Additional information on this matter will be provided once it becomes available and can be accessed at the Rent Guidelines Board Hearings page.

 

Municipalities can vote to adopt the New York State Emergency Tenant Protection Act (ETPA) only after reviewing the results of a Housing Vacancy Rate Analysis for residential properties with six or more units that were built before January 1, 1974, that finds a vacancy rate below the 5% threshold required to declare a state of public emergency and the regulation of certain residential rents. 

 

Once the municipality adopts the ETPA, the DHCR Office of Rent Administration sends a mailing to the owners of buildings in the municipality identified as being subject to the ETPA. It contains a letter providing an overview of ETPA procedural requirements. Sample forms, reference material and contact information for assistance are also provided.

 

Owners are responsible for promptly filing Initial Registration forms with DHCR for their subject buildings. Owners must serve each rent stabilized tenant with a copy of the Initial Apartment Registration form. The form contains an “Important Notice to the Tenant” on the back of the form. For more information on initial registration, visit the Rent Registration page. The following documents are available to aid in the registration process:

 

 

The New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) is responsible for administering the ETPA. In addition to the information on this page, all forms and information for owners can be found on the Owners and Managers page. All forms and information for tenants can be found on the Tenants page. These will detail the respective rights and responsibilities relating to Initial Registrations, rent increases, leases, maintenance of services, and protections from unlawful harassment and evictions. Owners and tenants can call 1-833-499-0343 to access information and receive assistance. They can also visit the Contact Us page for borough rent office locations.

 

(01/17/2024)

Public Information Sessions

Overview

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 the City of Kingston, and 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 previous vacancy and lease renewal guideline increases for Westchester, Nassau, and Rockland counties, please see the ETPA Historical Guidelines. For information on the grounds for permanent decontrol and exemption from paying administrative fees, see the Policy Statements section.

 

On June 14, 2019, the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act was enacted, which provided major reforms to the rent laws. For more information, visit:

 

For information on rent control, visit our Rent Control page.

 

Rent Control

 

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 is a monthly surcharge that can be increased once a year, subject to the limitations explained below, 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 leases include a rider that is signed by the tenant, notifying the tenant in at least 12-point type 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, she, or they receive 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 rent charged on the date that such phase-out began.

Owners and tenants are strongly encouraged to check with the NYC Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the Department of Finance (DOF) to identify the type of tax benefit received and its commencement and expiration dates. HPD also has a Fact Sheet on 421-A.

The collection of surcharges in excess of the following limitations shall be considered an overcharge:

 

421-a tax abatement for 10 years - the phase-out surcharge collection of 2.2% begins in year 3, eight increases, total surcharge not to exceed 17.6%. 

 

421-a tax abatement for 15 years - the phase-out surcharge collection of 2.2% begins in year 12, four increases, total surcharge not to exceed 8.8%. 

 

421-a tax abatement for 20 years - the phase-out surcharge collection of 2.2% begins in year 13, eight increases, total surcharge not to exceed 17.6%. 

 

421-a tax abatement for 25 years - the phase-out surcharge collection of 2.2% begins in year 22, four increases, total surcharge not to exceed 8.8%. 

 

The total surcharge assessed upon the expiration of the 421-a Benefits is a fixed final surcharge that may continue to be charged each year thereafter. However, no additional 2.2% increase 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, she or they 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.

 

7) In addition to registering the legal rent, do you need to register the actual rent paid when the tenant receives rental assistance, for example, Section 8?

Yes. If the Actual Rent Paid is different than the legal rent it must be reported in the registration filing. The Actual Rent Paid to be registered is the SUM of the tenant’s share (out-of-pocket payment) and the Section 8 rental assistance. The Actual Rent Paid may be higher than the Legal Rent, but only if it has been approved in a municipal regulatory agreement citing Section 610 of the PHFL. The higher Actual Rent can only be collected during the time that rental assistance is being received.

Fact Sheets

  •  

    Fact Sheet #1: Rent Stabilization and Rent Control

    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.

     

    Download

  •  

    Fact Sheet #41: Tax Abatements

    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.

     

    Download

Policy Statements