Verifying Rent Regulation Status of an Apartment
I am a licensed real estate salesperson and I am representing an estate in the sale of a building that contains an apartment that is occupied by a tenant. It is not clear whether the apartment is “rent regulated.” How can I verify the rent regulation status of the apartment?
“Rent regulation” in New York City refers to both Rent Control and Rent Stabilization laws. Rent Control is a set of laws that protects certain tenants from steep rent increases and guarantees tenants certain essential services. Rent Control is now defunct and generally only benefits individuals (or their lawful successors) who have lived in a Rent Controlled apartment continuously since before July 1, 1971. On the other hand, Rent Stabilization is much more common today. Under Rent Stabilization laws, landlords (amongst other things): (i) can only raise a rent stabilized tenant’s rent by a percentage determined by the New York City Rent Guidelines Board, (ii) must offer tenants renewal leases and (iii) must provide tenants certain required services.
The best way to determine whether an apartment is subject to rent regulation laws is to contact the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (the “DHCR”). The DHCR is the New York State agency that administers Rent Control and Rent Stabilization laws. You can contact the DHCR at 718-739-6400 or via email at RentInfo@nyshcr.org.
The DHCR also maintains a searchable database of rent regulated buildings on its website. This database contains buildings that have filed records with the DHCR at least once since 1984. However, the database is not complete and inclusion within the database is not determinative of a building’s current rent regulation status. Thus, contacting the DHCR directly is a better way to ascertain the rent regulation status of an apartment or building. The database can be found at the following link: https://apps.hcr.ny.gov/BuildingSearch/.
A real estate salesperson should confer with the owner’s attorney in determining whether the apartment is subject to rent regulation. Please see the previous Legal Line Question of the Week on Selling an Apartment with an Existing Tenant for additional information.
|Neil B. Garfinkel,
REBNY Broker Counsel
Partner-in-charge of real estate and banking practices at Abrams Garfinkel Margolis Bergson, LLP