Thousands of apartment-hunting hopefuls flock to New York City every year in search of a home in the highly coveted city. Rent prices have fluctuated over time, and laws governing rent-regulated apartments go all the way back to 1943 with New York State’s first rent control program. NY’s rent laws update every few years, and in just days, they’re due to be updated again. The bills that have been introduced could bring about the biggest change to NY rent laws in their history. For landlords and tenants in New York City, it’s important to understand the potential changes to the law.

Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, should these new laws be enacted, they could have an impact on your life. SBAGK’s landlord/tenant department is ready to answer all your questions and assist you should any legal matter arise. Here’s a breakdown of all the new legislation ideas on the table:

UPDATE – June 11, 2019

Lawmakers in Albany have announced an agreement to strengthen NY’s rent laws and tenant protections; they are expected to vote on the legislation this week. Governor Cuomo has said he will sign the legislative package. These changes will also be permanent- they will not expire every few years.

Bill #1

Expand the Emergency Tenant Protection Act: this bill would allow any city or town in New York State to regulate rents and evictions in the midst of a housing emergency (a vacancy rate of 5% or less). Currently, only Nassau County, Westchester County, Rockland County, and New York City have this ability.

Bill #2 *UPDATED*

Prohibits the eviction of tenants or the non-renewal of residential leases without “good cause.” It would apply to buildings with four or more rent-stabilized apartments. UPDATE: On June 11, 2019, a legislative package was introduced for a vote later this week. This bill was absent from the agreement, but the legislature did agree to limit security deposits on apartments statewide to one month’s rent and provide tenants in eviction proceedings with more time to contact an attorney, address lease violations, and pay overdue rent. The legislation would also make it a misdemeanor to evict tenants by force or by an illegal lockout.

Bill #3

Landlords would be prohibited from permanently deregulating rent-stabilized apartments when the rent exceeds $2,700 and a tenant moves out.

Bill #4

Prohibits landlords from raising rent up to 20% between tenants.

Bill #5

Prohibits building owners from revoking a rent-stabilized tenant’s preferential rent, (a price agreed to at an initial lease signing). Landlords will only be permitted to change the preferential rent when the apartment is vacated.

Bill #6 and Bill #7 *UPDATED*

Currently, rent laws allow landlords to permanently raise rent post-renovations if the renovations benefit the tenants of the property. Two proposed new laws would not permit landlords to do this. UPDATE: Per the new legislative agreement, the state could be required to inspect and audit buildingwide improvements.

Bill #8

Extends the time for overcharge complaints: this bill would eliminate the statute of limitations for rent-stabilized tenants to file a rent overcharge complaint. The statute of limitations is currently four years.

Bill #9

Right now, rent increases for rent-controlled apartments are not set by the Rent Guidelines Boards; a new bill would give them the ability to oversee rent-controlled units they way they currently oversee rent-stabilized units.

What Happens Next?

NY’s current rent laws are due to expire on June 15, 2019. Both the state Assembly and Senate are prepared to hold multiple hearings throughout the state, and the legislative session ends June 19. Hearings will allow lawmakers and advocates to voice their opinions on the various new legislation ideas, so if a landlord or tenant has an opinion on any of the laws being debated, they should get in touch with their local representative so they can voice their concerns at the hearings.