Five Things Landlords In New York Should Know About New Tenant Protection Law

The Act in Action

In June of 2019, the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act (also called the Act) was passed in the New York State legislature. There was an amendment to the Act, called the “Clean Up Bill” (Bill 6571-A) as well. The main sections of importance regarding the Act are as follows:

Permanent Rent Regulation Is the Law

The Act eliminates sunset provisions in rent control and rent stabilization laws to make rent regulation permanent. The statute of limitations for rent overcharge is six years, with treble damages possible for all six years. Rent stabilization applies to all New York State counties, whereby the local authorities note a housing supply emergency. The Act eliminates vacancy and longevity increases in rental fees. Under this law, landlords cannot pass on fuel costs on to renters by increasing the rental fees.

Justified Building Use by Landlords

Equally important, landlords are no longer permitted to force out a tenant to use their building for their own personal use. Instead, the new laws offer vital protection for rent-stabilized tenants and, if they are in a tenancy over 15 years, the tenants can enjoy a special status. This leaves landlords able to take back a rental unit for personal use if the landlord or family members actually occupy the rental unit, but only in those cases. Landlords can only recover one rental unit for a primary residence, and must have an immediate and compelling reason for doing so.

Additionally, landlords cannot retake a unit with a tenant who is 62 years old, a tenant who has rented for over 15 years, or from a tenant who has a disability. Building owners cannot convert the occupied rental units to a cooperative or condominium ownership building based on an eviction plan. If a non-eviction plan is in effect, the percentage of apartments for purchase agreements is 15% of anyone renting or outsiders, to 51% of tenants in occupancy (insiders).

Caps on Individual Apartment Improvements

Individual Apartment Improvements (IAI) are capped at $15,000 and are temporary for 30 years, as are Major Capital Improvements (MCI). Scheduling reasonable costs are required now by landlords, and there is a cap for each MIC (as amortized 12 years if fewer than 35 units are applicable). IAI increases are allowed on written and informed tenant consent.

No Retroactive Rent Increases

The new laws state that landlords cannot retroactively increase the rent due, but must mail a notice of approval to tenants first. This means that the landlords cannot raise the rents as an afterthought, and must have had a plan in place to raise the rent going forward. In this way, the rent increase is noted as being temporary, and will be removed after 30 years.

Background and Credit Check Fees Limits

The new laws stipulate that the landlord background and credit check fees are capped at $20.00, and late rent payment fees are capped at $50.00 or 5% of the monthly rent, whichever is less. This ensures that landlords do not pile on costs for administrative or processing fees for bringing new tenants into a building. If the landlord has a former policy of increasing these fees in the past, it must be revisited with a view towards the limits, as imposed by the new rental laws in New York applicable today.

If you have questions as to what is and is not allowed by landlords renting to new renters in NYC, you should call the office of Michael Mantell, Esq., where we have been caring for clients and their legal needs in the metropolitan New York City area for nearly 50 years. We service the commercial and residential real estate needs of landlords, tenants, and business owners, in the NYC region, and we offer affordable fees. Call us now at (212) 750-3896 and schedule a consultation regarding your legal issues today.