New York, NY – April 24, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — This morning, New York State Homes and Community Renewal released a set of proposed new rules and regulations for rent law enforcement. This comes nearly two years after the passage of 2011’s Rent Act, which mandated that HCR “promulgate rules and regulations to implement and enforce all provisions of this act and any law renewed or continued by this act.”
Much like the 2011 rent law renewal, which expanded rent regulations for the first time in nearly two decades, these new rules represent a change in direction for HCR, which, in 2001, 2003 and 2005, issued regulations that strongly favored landlords and seriously reduced tenant protections. While we will be seeking further amendments during the 45-day public comment period, these regulatory amendments are an important step in the right direction.
The regulations HCR has proposed would take action to protect tenants by mandating greater transparency, clarifying questions about rent setting, and expanding tenants’ ability to challenge illegal rents. Some of the most important features of the proposed regulations include:
Denying MCIs and vacancy bonuses to landlords in buildings with rent reductions in place, and making it harder for landlords with immediately hazardous violations to get MCIs;
Banning MCIs for sub-metering, and protecting SCRIE tenants from facing the prospect of submetering;
Codifying the many exceptions to the four year look-back rule;
Mandating that new tenants in stabilized apartments receive a rider documenting any prior IAI rent increases, and allowing tenants to challenge them;
Providing notice to the first tenant of a deregulated unit about prior rent increases
Expanding the definition of harassment to include filing false documents or making false statements to DHCR;
Preventing landlords from harassing SCRIE and DRIE tenants with high income/ high rent decontrol filings;
Denying vacancy increases to landlords that have not registered their apartments;
Creating more equitable ways to set rents in certain overcharge cases;
Tightening the rules on preferential rents.
There are, however, a number of important additional regulatory actions that are needed which the tenant community has recommended to HCR, including in formal regulatory comments submitted by a group of 68 tenant organizations and legal service providers.
In our prior comments, for example, we recommended that HCR set out a process for re-regulating and rolling back rents in buildings where apartments were illegally deregulated while the landlord received a J-51 abatement. We also suggested that HCR revise the rules relating to succession, in order to clarify that apartment succession is available to family members based on co-occupancy prior to the leaseholder’s physical vacatur of the apartment, regardless of whether the tenant of record formally surrendered their tenancy rights to the landlord. We will continue working to ensure that issues like these are addressed in the final regulations.
In the near future, we expect to release a more comprehensive response to these proposed regulations, as well as suggestions for changes and amendments.
Maggie Russell-Ciardi, 718 813 6082, maggie (at) tandn (dot) org; Sam Stein, 917 376 7444; Ellen Davidson, 212 577 3339, EBDavidson (at) legal-aid (dot) org.