Skip to Main Content

Frequently Asked Questions

Mitchell-Lama Applicants

  1. How can I get information about DHCR supervised Mitchell-Lama developments?

    Separate listings of family and senior citizen developments, arranged by county, are available on this web site. These listings show the name and address of the development, indicate whether it is a rental or a cooperative, and provide the number of apartments, the approximate wait, and an address and telephone number for contacting the sponsor or managing agent for information and applications. Federally-assisted developments are also identified on the listings.

    Back to List of Questions

  2. What is a federally-assisted development?

    Federally-assisted developments receive Section 8 or Section 236 subsidies which enable tenants to pay below market rents, based on their income. These developments are subject to HUD rules and regulations.

    Back to List of Questions

  3. What are the requirements for admission?

    For both federally-assisted and non-federally-assisted Mitchell-Lama developments, an applicant's adjusted annual household income must not exceed a prescribed limit, the household composition and the size of the desired apartment must agree with the occupancy standards approved for the development, and the apartment must constitute the primary residence of all household members. In addition to these statutory and programmatic requirements, each development establishes its own tenant selection criteria covering such areas as minimum income, credit worthiness, good housekeeping, etc.

    Back to List of Questions

  4. What are the maximum admission income limits at these developments?

    Maximum admission income limits differ for federally-assisted and non-federally-assisted developments.

    For federally-assisted developments an applicant's annual household income must not exceed the income limit for the applicable HUD program for the area in which the development is located, adjusted for household size, as shown on the most recently issued HUD schedule.

    For non-federally-assisted rental developments the basis used for calculating the maximum admission income limit is the annual apartment rent. For cooperative developments the basis is the annual carrying charge, plus 6% of the equity, plus $120 multiplied by the number of rental rooms. To arrive at the maximum income limit for both types of development the basis is multiplied by 7 for households of one to three persons, or by 8 for households of four or more persons.

    An applicant whose adjusted household income exceeds the maximum admission income limit may be admitted paying a rent surcharge, if applicable, in either of the following cases:

    • The household has three or more persons and the adjusted income does not exceed 125% of the maximum income limit.
    • The adjusted income does not exceed the median income most recently determined by HUD, adjusted for household size, for the area in which the development is located.

    Back to List of Questions

  5. How is an applicant's adjusted annual household income calculated?

    For federally-assisted developments, a 12 month projection of the applicant's household income is used with specific exclusions and deductions detailed in the HUD Handbook 4350.3, Occupancy Requirements of Subsidized Multifamily Housing Programs.

    For non-federally-assisted developments, the actual adjusted federal gross income reported on the State (or federal) income tax return for the prior calendar year is used. The following deductions and exemptions are permitted: $20,000 (or wages, if less) for each secondary wage earner; $1,000 for each household member who filed a State income tax return and was not claimed as a dependent by another; and dependent exemptions, medical and dental expenses and taxable social security benefits actually claimed on the return.

    Back to List of Questions

  6. If my last year's income tax return reflects non-recurring income such as lottery winnings or capital gains, should it be included in the calculation of my adjusted income?

    If you are applying to a federally-assisted development, non-recurring income would not be included in the calculation of your adjusted income, only the current actual or imputed interest income from those monies would be included. However, if you are applying to a non-federally-assisted development, non-recurring income that is included in the adjusted federal gross income reported on your last year's tax return would also be included in the calculation of your adjusted income.

    Back to List of Questions

  7. What if an applicant is found to be over income for a specific available apartment but is income eligible for another similarly sized apartment in the development with a higher rent?

    An applicant such as this should be permitted to remain on the development's waiting list until the apartment with the higher rent and maximum income limit becomes available.

    Back to List of Questions

  8. Are there any restrictions on the minimum income standards that can be used at these developments?

    Yes. Minimum income standards cannot exceed 40 times the monthly rent for non-senior citizen households or 36 times the monthly rent for senior citizen households. In addition, applicants who do not meet the standard must also be given an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to pay the monthly rent or carrying charge. Applicants cannot be required to meet the minimum income standard until they have been reached on the waiting list and an apartment is available.

    Back to List of Questions

  9. Can an applicant be refused admission to one of these developments because he or she has a Section 8 subsidy?

    No. If an applicant meets the applicable statutory, programmatic, and tenant selection criteria, he cannot be refused admission to the development because he has a Section 8 subsidy. The applicant must be allowed to use the subsidy to demonstrate the ability to pay the monthly rent or carrying charge.

    Back to List of Questions

  10. I believe that my application for admission to one of these developments was unfairly rejected. Do I have any recourse?

    State supervised Mitchell-Lama developments are required to send a written notification to rejected applicants which informs them of the reason for the rejection and advises them of their right to appeal to DHCR's Office of Legal Affairs within seven days of receipt of the notification. If your application was rejected and this procedure was not followed, you should contact this agency's Public Information Office at (212) 480-6731 and ask to speak to the Housing Management Representative for that development.

    Back to List of Questions

Mitchell-Lama Tenants & Shareholders

  1. Am I responsible for reporting changes in my household composition?

    Yes. The terms of your lease require that you advise your management office of any additions to or deletions from your household promptly. DHCR regulations require that the notification be made in writing within 90 days after the change takes place.

    Back to List of Questions

  2. What are my responsibilities with respect to reporting my income?

    All tenants in DHCR supervised Mitchell-Lama developments are required to report their income, and the income of all household members, annually and to comply with housing company requests for documentation. Tenants in federally-assisted developments are subject to HUD's annual income re-certification requirements. Tenants in non-federally-assisted developments are subject to DHCR's annual income review procedure.

    Back to List of Questions

  3. I already submitted a copy of my New York State taxes last year with my income affidavit. Why must I now submit a certified copy of my NYS taxes?

    Your income determines whether or not you should pay a surcharge on top of your rent/maintenance charges and how much of a surcharge you will be assessed. When you are notified that you must submit a certified copy of your New York State taxes, this is because the information supplied did not exactly match the information New York State Taxation and Finance has on file. Therefore, your name appears on a discrepancy report and that discrepancy must be resolved in order to accurately assess your rent/maintenance charge. To resolve the discrepancy, management must verify the information you supplied by collecting a certified copy of your New York State taxes. To determine the exact nature of the discrepancy, you should contact your management agent.

    Back to List of Questions

  4. After filing my income affidavit late, management agreed to removed the 50% surcharge going forward but could not remove the surcharge already billed. Is this correct?

    Yes. When a tenant who is subject to DHCR's annual income review procedure fails to submit a completed income affidavit, or necessary documentation, management is required to give the tenant one month's notice that a 50% surcharge will be added to the rent. Once the affidavit or documentation is submitted, management is required to recalculate the surcharge on the basis of the submission and the effective date of any resulting rent change should be the first of the following month. Management is not required to waive a surcharge that has already been assessed due to the failure of a tenant to submit the income affidavit on time.

    Back to List of Questions

  5. When I moved into my apartment I was single and have recently married. I would like to add my spouse to my lease but management says that I cannot do this. Why?

    As long as the tenant named on the lease remains in residence in a DHCR supervised Mitchell-Lama development, additional occupants cannot be added to the lease. If the tenant named on the lease vacates the apartment, the right of a family member to remain in the apartment may be protected by DHCR's succession regulations. In order for the family member to be covered by these provisions, he or she must be able to satisfactorily document that this is their primary residence and that he or she has been residing in the apartment with the tenant for two years, or since the inception of the tenancy or the commencement of their relationship. (The rule is changed to one year if the family member is a senior citizen or handicapped.) Documentation must include the income affidavits or re-certification forms filed during the family member's occupancy and, if necessary, the written notice of change to tenant's household (referred to in question 1 above).

    Back to List of Questions

  6. What is the definition of "family member" for the purposes of succession?

    DHCR's succession regulations define family member as a husband, wife, son, daughter, stepson, stepdaughter, father, mother, stepfather, stepmother, brother, sister, nephew, niece, uncle, aunt, grandfather, grandmother, grandson, granddaughter, father-in-law, mother-in- law, son-in-law, or daughter-in-law of the tenant. The definition of a family member also includes any other person residing with the tenant in the apartment as a primary or principal residence, who can prove emotional and financial commitment and interdependence between herself or himself and the tenant.

    Back to List of Questions

  7. What is the rent increase process and what part do I play?

    Overview of the Rent Increase Process

    Back to List of Questions

  8. I am a senior citizen and cannot afford a rent increase. Is there any help for me?

    The Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) program for tenants in Mitchell-Lama developments is administered by the New York City Housing Preservation and Development. For more information, you may call 311 or view the below link: New York City Housing Preservation and Development SCRIE program

  9. I am disabled and cannot afford a rent increase. Is there any help for me?

    The Disability Rent Increase Exemption (DRIE) program for tenants in Mitchell-Lama developments is administered by the New York City Housing Preservation and Development. For more information, view the below link: New York City Department of Finance DRIE program

Mitchell-Lama Buy-Outs

  1. What is a Mitchell-Lama Buy-out?

    "Mitchell-Lama" developments are affordable housing projects organized under Articles 2 and 4 of the Private Housing Finance Law, and supervised by the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal ("DHCR"). A "buy-out" occurs when the project pays off it's mortgage and is removed from DHCR's supervision as a Mitchell-Lama. Under the law, a Mitchell-Lama has the right to buy out after twenty years. The technical term for "buy-out" is "dissolution."

    Back to List of Questions

  2. After the buy-out, will my apartment still be subject to rent regulation?

    Your apartment will probably be subject to regulation if it was built before January 1, 1974, and is located in New York City, or Nassau, Westchester, or Rockland Counties, in which case it is likely subject to either the New York City Rent Stabilization Law or the New York State Emergency Tenant Protection Act (ETPA), and therefore regulated by DHCR's Office of Rent Administration. Otherwise, your apartment will no longer be subject to government regulation, unless the building goes under some other government subsidy program.

    Back to List of Questions

  3. How does the buy-out process work?

    DHCR has promulgated regulations to assure that all residents and the public receive full advance disclosure of plans to dissolve, that there is a smooth transition of management, and that the housing company complies with all legal requirements prior to dissolution. No earlier than 365 days prior to the anticipated date of dissolution, the housing company must apply to DHCR for permission to dissolve by submitting a "Notice of Intent." The 365 day requirement, and others mentioned below, may be altered by DHCR depending on the unique circumstances of each housing development.

    Back to List of Questions

  4. Is there a requirement that the public be notified?

    After DHCR has reviewed and accepted the material filed with the Notice of Intent, no earlier than 90 days prior to the anticipated date of dissolution, the housing company must serve a Notice of Public Meeting by door delivery to each tenant, and by certified or registered mail to DHCR and to the:

    • State Senator and Member of the Assembly for the district in which the project is located;
    • Mayor and local Legislative Member for the project, if any; and
    • President or Chairperson of the tenants' association or council.

    The notice must specify the day, date, time and place of a public meeting to be conducted by the housing company. The meeting must be conducted between 10 and 20 days of the Notice, and at least 60 days prior to the anticipated date of dissolution.

    Back to List of Questions

  5. Can the costs of the dissolution be built into my rent?

    A housing company seeking to dissolve a rental housing company may not charge or assess the costs of complying with the regulations, including the payment of required fees, to the operational or capital expenses of the company. These costs cannot be reflected in any rental charge or increase for any tenant of the housing development. The housing company must file an affidavit certifying compliance with these requirements with the Notice of Intent.

    Back to List of Questions

The following answers only apply to projects subject to rent regulation under the New York City Rent Stabilization Law or The New York State Emergency Tenant Protection Act.

  1. How does Rent Stabilization work?

    Landlords may not charge rents above those permitted under guidelines established annually by local Rent Guidelines Boards. There are separate boards in New York City, Nassau, Westchester and Rockland counties. Tenants are entitled to renewal leases and required services, and may not be evicted except on grounds allowed by law.

    Back to List of Questions

  2. What happens if the landlord does not obey the rent laws?

    Tenants may file a complaint with DHCR, who can direct owners to comply with the law, reduce rents, and levy fines on owners. DHCR is required by law to reduce rents if services are not maintained. If a tenant is overcharged, DHCR may assess penalties of interest or treble damages payable to the tenant.

    Back to List of Questions

  3. What will my rent be?

    The initial rent will be the rent in effect when Mitchell-Lama regulation ends, including income-related surcharges. That rent will be the base rent upon which all future rent increases are calculated, both for the existing tenant and future tenants. If an existing tenant receives a rental subsidy, and it is terminated on or after dissolution, the owner may charge only what the tenant had paid, not including the subsidy. If an apartment is vacant at the time of dissolution, the rent will be the rent charged to the last tenant, plus rental subsidies, but excluding any income surcharges.

    Back to List of Questions

  4. How will my lease be renewed?

    Upon dissolution, Mitchell-Lama leases are replaced by Rent Stabilization leases which provide for the same rent and expiration date as the Mitchell-Lama lease. When the first lease expires, the tenant will have the right to renew for a one or two year term, at the tenant's option, with a rent increase based on the then effective guideline set by the appropriate Rent Guidelines Board. Prior to dissolution, a Mitchell-Lama tenant who does not have a lease should contact the development's office to obtain one. If the tenant is still not able to obtain a lease, the tenant should contact the DHCR Housing Management Bureau and ask for the representative assigned to the development.

    Back to List of Questions

  5. Does my air conditioner electrical charge under Mitchell-Lama continue under Rent Stabilization?

    For air conditioners in place upon dissolution, the electrical charge under Mitchell-Lama will be continued as part of the base rent under Rent Stabilization. For air conditioners installed after the date of dissolution, owners will be entitled to collect the electrical charge authorized by DHCR Office of Rent Administration's annual update of Operational Bulletin 84-4.

    Back to List of Questions

  6. Does my parking charge under Mitchell-Lama continue under Rent Stabilization?

    For garage spaces rented upon dissolution, the parking charge under Mitchell-Lama will be continued, and then increased upon renewal of the apartment lease based on applicable guidelines. For garages spaces initially rented after dissolution, the initial charge will be at market rates, but renewal increases will be limited to applicable guidelines.

    Back to List of Questions

  7. Will I be entitled to the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE)?

    Under the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption program ("SCRIE") tenants who are 62 years or older may qualify for full exemption or partial exemption from rent increases if their incomes are below a maximum limit allowed by law and they are paying at least one-third of their income for rent. In New York City, Senior Citizens who receive Public Assistance may also be eligible. For more information, contact the NYC Department of Finance, SCRIE/DRIE Exemption, 59 Maiden Lane, 19th floor New York, New York 10038. Telephone 311.

    Back to List of Questions

  8. Who may I contact if I have a problem?

    Tenants who are covered by rent regulation may still bring their complaints to DHCR, but to a different part of the agency. Before dissolution, tenants contacted DHCR's housing management office. After dissolution, tenants must contact DHCR's Office of Rent Administration, whose offices are listed below.

    Rent Administration Borough and District Offices

    Back to List of Questions

Last Updated: 01/22/13