Rent Laws Expire 2019

Whatever rent you’re paying,
this year’s fight to strengthen rent laws affects you!

The laws expire in June 2019.

Longtime tenant?

  • With a Democratic state legislature, we have a moment of leverage to strengthen and expand our rights.
  • The state legislature and the governor can undo antitenant provisions in the law.

Paying a high (market-rate), preferential rent?

  • In June 2020 about 5,300 apartments in STPCV will lose their protections altogether unless the law changes.
  • The state legislature and the governor can extend protections to you.

Strengthening renters’ rights is critical to strong neighborhoods, educational and health outcomes, and economic stability. In STPCV we have seen how landlord abuse has destabilized our community.

Housing Justice for All, a diverse coalition representing New Yorkers from every part of the state, is proposing legislation to protect tenants.

Bills that affect current STPCV tenants most

  • MCIs: Eliminate rent hikes due to major capital improvements and remove certain MCIs from the rent (S3693/A6322): Instead of tenants paying in perpetuity for necessary maintenance and repair, costs would be borne by landlords. If you pay a preferential rent, the cost gets added to your base rent, even if the landlord doesn’t collect it. 
  • Preferential rent becomes the base rent (S2845A/A4349): A preferential rent is a discounted rent a tenant pays when the registered legal maximum rent exceeds the market value of the apartment. But when you renew your lease, the landlord can charge any amount up to the higher rent. Such a rent hike, often hundreds of dollars, may force you to move. More than half the STPCV community pays preferential rents. This bill mandates that the landlord renew your preferential rent with an increase, if any, based on the rent you actually pay.

Bills that affect some current tenants and affect our future neighbors

  • Bring renters’ rights to unregulated tenants with “good-cause” eviction (S2892/A5030): If the 5,300 STPCV apartments are indeed deregulated in 2020, those tenants will have no protections at all. The landlord will not have to offer a renewal lease.This bill would also bring a right to limited rent increases set by a local price index (similar to NYC’s Rent Guidelines Board’s).
  • End vacancy decontrol (S2591/A1198): Under current law, landlords are able to deregulate vacant apartments provided the rent is above a certain threshold (mechanisms are IAI renovation costs and the 20% vacancy bonus). Rent stabilization should be permanent. If vacancy decontrol is not repealed, the entire rent and eviction protection system will be phased out over time—a windfall for landlords and a catastrophic loss for tenants.
  • IAIs: Eliminate rent hikes due to individual apartment improvements (S3770/A6465): Apartment renovation costs when an apartment is vacant are IAIs, one of the ways landlords get the rents closer to the current deregulation threshold.
  • Eliminate the vacancy bonus (S185/A2351): Under rent stabilization, landlords can add 20% to the rent when an apartment turns over. This gives landlords a big incentive to harass and evict long-term tenants. The preferential rent loophole and the vacancy bonus are often used together to victimize tenants and destroy housing affordability. Succeeding STPCV managements have made a point of renting to transient tenants, guaranteeing that they would collect the vacancy bonus year after year.

  • Reform the 4-year look-back period (S4169/A5251): If a landlord flouts the law and overcharges tenants, it is up to the tenant to complain and pursue a case against the landlord. Currently, tenants have four years to make a complaint. But this rule has led to massive amounts of fraud being given legal status because tenants did not complain at the right time. This bill reforms the system by changing the look-back period to six years and providing exceptions to the rule so that tenants can hold landlords accountable.

Resources: Overview and specifics of the entire platform.

The Community Service Society page on affordable housing:

A Guide to Rent Regulation in New York City: How It Works, What Went Wrong, and How to Fix It by Oksana Mironova, Community Service Society

Making the Rent Truly Affordable: Why Operating Subsidies Belong in New York City’s Affordable Housing Toolkit

5 Myths About Rent Regulation

Look up bills:

State Senate:

State Assembly: