You may have heard chatter over Rent Laws in New York City over the recent weeks, and wondering what is it all about? City Council recently met to conduct their annual meeting in Lower Manhattan to discuss this years rent guidelines. With over 65% of New York’s 8 million people being renters, these regulations will likely impact you or somebody you know. With mixed opinions on the board's decisions, let's dive into precisely what the board decided.
One of the most significant disagreements to be resolved in this years meeting was the issue of rent regulation. Previously if a tenant were to live in a rent regulated apartment and their income was to surpass a certain amount, the apartment would become deregulated.
Now, if you live in a regulated apartment, your apartment will continue to remain regulated despite your financial situation. Additionally, the laws called for more apartments to be part of the rent-regulated system. Additionally, and notably landlords now only have the power to add up to $89 to an apartments rent in between tenants after a renovation, previously landlords had the ability to add up to $1000.
For regular renters, this meeting was a harbinger of good as well. It was a common occurrence for troublesome tenants to be put on a “blacklist” by their landlord; this is now considered a misdemeanor. Additionally, more restrictions have been placed on evictions, giving the tenants more time to leave their apartment if evicted and creating a fine between $1,000 and $10,000 for illegal evictions on the part of the landlord.
Other ways the new laws impact Renters include:
Security Deposits must be returned to the Tenant within 14 days of vacating the unit
At least 30 days’ must be given to Tenants if the Landlord intends to raise the rent by more than 5%
Tenants have 30 days to fix lease violations, up from 10
Application fees are limited to $20, even when a background check is included
However, the news was not so good if you are a renter of a rent-stabilized apartment with the board voting 5-4 to raise rents for the 3rd consecutive year. The increase will go into effect on renewal leases started on or after October 1st, 2019, and September 30, 2020. The increase will come at a 1.5% increase for one-year leases and 2.5% for two-year leases. While this is still an increase, it is rather small compared to the 14% increase that New York had seen in the ’80s.
The new regulations affect a wide variety of renters and landlords in positive and negative ways. Feedback from Landlords is that these laws are disincentivizing them to upkeep existing apartments given there may be a cap on how much they can increase rent after a renovation. However, tenant advocates see the laws in a positive light, saying that some of them were desperately called for.