Legal Guide for Renters and Tenants in New York City

Does New York City have rent control?

Yes. As to certain apartments in NYC, the rent can be increased by an allowable amount. Rent regulated apartments include rent stabilized units and rent controlled units.

For renewal leases beginning between October 1, 2019, through September 30, 2020, the rent increase for rent stabilized apartment and loft renewals is:

  • 1-year lease: 1.5%
  • 2-year lease: 2.5%

This cap is set by the NYC Rent Guidelines Board each year.

Rent Stabilized Apartments:

  • Are in buildings that contain six or more apartments, were built before January 1, 1974, and are not co-ops or condos
  • Are those where you sign a lease every one or two years with a percentage increase
  • For an apartment to be stabilized it must have had a rent of less than $2,000 if the tenant first moved into the apartment in 1993 or later

Rent controlled apartments are more rare. Rent Controlled Apartments:

  • Are in buildings built before February 1, 1947
  • Have been occupied continuously by a tenant or his/her legal successors since June 30, 1971
  • For one- or two-family houses, a tenant must have been living in that apartment continuously since April 1, 1953

For these, a maximum base rent is established for each apartment and adjusted every two years to reflect changes in operating costs. Owners, who certify that they are providing essential services and have removed violations, are entitled to raise rents the lesser of either the average of the five most recent Rent Guidelines Board annual rent increases for one-year renewal leases or 7.5 percent each year until they reach the MBR.

Can the landlord raise the rent after a tenant moves out?

Not anymore. Prior law allowed a “vacancy bonus” or for units to be “deregulated” after a vacancy if the rent reached a certain amount. Under the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection act of 2019 passed in June 2019, the rent regulations remain even after tenants move out.

Does my landlord need to provide heat and hot water?

From Oct 1 – May 31 (“Heat Season”), building owners are required to provide tenants with heat during these months under the following conditions:
• When the outside temperature is below 55 degrees between the hours of 6am and 10pm, building owners must heat apartments to at least 68 degrees
• Between the hours of 10pm and 6am, regardless of the outside temperature, building owners must heat apartments to at least 62 degrees.

Building owners also must ensure that tenants have hot water 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, at a minimum constant temperature of 120 degrees.

If you are not getting the required heat, call 311 and/or the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD).

Can I list my place on Airbnb?

No. See our Guide to Airbnb Laws.

Is there rent control on businesses?

No, although New York City is considering a form of it, in the Small Business Jobs Survival Act. The SBJSA would force commercial landlords who want to raise the rent to negotiate with their business tenants.

Are broker fees legal in New York City?

Update: A court has temporarily blocked the new broker fee law, below.

In February 2020, the New York state legislature passed a law that tenants cannot be required to pay broker fees. Prospective tenants may still hire and pay brokers to find an apartment. But if a landlord uses a broker, it may not pass along the cost to the tenant.

More Resources

See the NYC HPD ABC’s of Housing.

Try out the “ChatGPT” for NYC renters – Legal Hat.

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