Rent Controlled Housing

New York’s rent control program applies to residential buildings in certain areas for buildings built before 1947.  Rent control is in effect in New York City and parts of Albany, Erie, Nassau, Rensselaer, Schenectady, and Westchester counties.

Rent control applies where the tenant has been living in the apartment continuously since before July 1, 1971. There are certain succession rights that apply which may allow you to stay in a rent controlled or rent stabilized apartment as a family member after the tenant has moved or passed away.  For instance, if you lived in the apartment for two years or more with the tenant of record before the tenant moved out or passed away.  If you are disabled or over 62 years old, then you only have to live in the apartment with the tenant of record for one year.

In certain situations, you may be able to have succession rights to a rent stabilized or rent controlled apartment even if you are a “non-traditional” family member.  You must show an “emotional and financial commitment” to the tenant.  In deciding whether to give you succession rights, the court may look at:

  • The length of the relationship
  • Whether you shared household expenses
  • Whether you had joint credit cards or bank accounts
  • Whether you did “family-type” activities together
  • Whether you had formal legal obligations to each other, such as through a will, trust, or power of attorney
  • Whether you acted as family members in public activities
  • Whether you regularly performed family functions for each other

If your apartment is rent controlled, your landlord is limited in the amount that can be charged as rent.  Your landlord also has limited rights when trying to evict you.  In New York City, the rent of your rent controlled apartment can be adjusted every two years, since the costs to operate the building probably are going up. However, you can challenge the higher rent under certain situations, such as when the rent being charged by your landlord is higher than the legal regulated rent allowed, your building has Housing Code violations, your landlord’s expenses actually did not increase that much or the landlord is not providing you with certain necessary services.

When a rent controlled apartment is vacated, it can either become rent stabilized or completely deregulated. If you are the first de-regulated or rent-stabilized tenant after the apartment has become de-controlled, you can protest the rent by filing a fair-market-rent appeal.

Legal Editor:  Charlotte Lee, April 2015

Changes may occur in this area of law. The information provided is brought to you as a public service with the help and assistance of volunteer legal editors, and is intended to help you better understand the law in general. It is not intended to be legal advice regarding your particular problem or to substitute for the advice of a lawyer.

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