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Rent Regulation Reform Act of 1997

The agreement will contain the following elements:

I. Protecting Tenants

Rent regulations will be continued for all tenants as presently constituted, subjected to the changes and reforms noted below for a period of six years.

II. Vacancy Allowances

For an apartment that is vacant on June 15, 1997, landlords will be entitled to the following vacancy allowance:

  1. For two-year leases, upon vacancy of an apartment, the landlord shall be entitled to increase the rent by 20 percent, plus any additional vacancy increases as noted below.

  2. If the lease is for one year, the 20 percent increase shall be reduced by the difference between a two-year increase and one-year increase as authorized by the NYC Rent Guidelines Board.

    For example, if the Board approves a 3 percent increase for one year and a 5 percent increase for two years, the two-year lease shall increase by 20 percent and the one- year lease shall increase by 18 percent.

  3. In addition to the vacancy allowances noted above, for a vacant apartment where the previous tenant had lived for eight or more years, the landlord shall be entitled to a 0.6 percent increase above the 20 percent vacancy allowance for each year the previous tenant occupied the apartment.

    For example, if the prior tenant was in the apartment for 10 years, the landlord would be entitled, for a two-year lease, to increase the rent by the 20 percent vacancy allowance plus an additional 6 percent. If the tenant was in occupancy for 20 years, the increase would be 20 percent plus an additional 12 percent.

  4. For apartments that rent for less $300 per month in addition to the vacancy allowances as noted above, the rent would increase by $100 upon vacancy. In the event the rent for the apartment was $300 to $500, upon vacancy the landlord would get the vacancy allowances noted above or $100, whichever is greater.

III. Succession

The rights of an individual to succeed the tenant named on the lease would be limited by removing nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles from those authorized to succeed the prior tenant.

The right of succession without a vacancy allowance shall be limited to one generation only. For example, a son or daughter could continue in the occupancy after the mother or father dies without a vacancy allowance.

Upon the next vacancy, the apartment shall be subject to the vacancy allowances but qualified successors shall have the right to continue in occupancy by matching the rent under the formula of payment in Section II.

IV. Regulatory Reform

Provides for reform of regulatory provisions in statute to simplify the administration of rent regulations without jeopardizing tenant rights, including: reinforcing the four-year statute of limitation for contesting rent overcharges; fixing the problems associated with the $10 administrative fee paid to the city for each rent stabilized apartment and ending duplicative rent decreases ordered by the State Division of Housing and Community Renewal and the Courts for the same service problem.

V. Luxury Decontrol

The level for luxury decontrol would be lowered from $250,000 to $175,000 and the minimum rent would be $2,000 per month.

VI. Escrow

In cases where there is a dispute between the landlord and tenant, the tenant would be required to pay the rent into escrow. Housing court would have no discretion in this regard, but after two adjournments would be required to order the payment into escrow.

The payment of the undisputed amount shall be without prejudice to either party's legal rights.

VII. New Construction

Includes a statutory provision guaranteeing all new housing construction after the date of the bill to ensure it will not be subject to rent stabilization or rent control unless subject to controls under current law or any new benefit program as a result of the voluntary acceptance of a government program which currently would place such units under rent stabilization.

The Division of Housing and Community Renewal shall be authorized to contract with the development group such certifications as are necessary to guarantee such rights.

VIII. Tenant Harassment

Tough new civil and criminal penalties on landlords who harass tenants.

IX. Demolition

In any building occupied by three or fewer tenants, who constitute 10 percent or less of the overall dwelling units, the owner may be permitted to demolish the building without satisfying certain prior restrictions by relocating the tenants to comparable apartments in another building or paying the tenants applicable stipends.

Last updated on 08/31/99