Assemblyman Perry Passes Legislation to Strengthen New York's Rent Laws and Protect Tenants' Rights

Assemblyman N. Nick Perry announced that the Assembly passed a series of bills that would enhance tenants' rights, as well as protect them from unfair housing practices. The legislation also includes measures aimed at expanding and protecting affordable housing.

"It's important to have strong rent regulation laws on the books to make sure hardworking families can afford to stay in their homes," said Assemblyman Perry. "There must be some cost certainty to protect tenants from landlords who unfairly jack up rents or attempt to eliminate rent-regulated apartments. The Assembly's legislation would help ensure that quality, affordable housing is available to more New Yorkers."

Strengthening New York's rent laws

"The Assembly Majority has a long record of fighting to protect families by strengthening rent laws," said Assemblyman Perry. "Without these protections, more and more Brooklyn families would be forced from their homes and our neighborhoods would suffer."

The legislative package passed by the Assembly includes measures to:

  • eliminate vacancy decontrol provisions. Vacancy decontrol allows apartments that have a legal maximum rent in excess of $2,500 that become vacant to be removed from the protections of the rent regulation laws. Additionally, the bill would allow certain units that were deregulated pursuant to vacancy decontrol to become reregulated (A.1585);
  • limit a landlord's ability to recover rent-regulated units for their own personal use or use by an immediate family member by allowing for the recovery of only one unit to be used as a primary residence. The bill also restricts that ability if a tenant has occupied the apartment for 15 or more years (A.5177);
  • reduce the amount, from 20 percent to 7.5 percent of the current rental cost, that a landlord can increase the rent after a vacancy of a rent-stabilized unit (A.5178);
  • require that rent surcharges allowed for major capital improvements stop when the cost of the improvement has been recovered (A.5373);
  • prohibit increasing preferential rent to the legally allowed rate when a lease is renewed – such increases could only take place upon vacancy (A.5473);
  • require major capital improvement (MCI) rent adjustments to be offset by 100 percent of the total annual tax abatement benefits, along with any tax abatement benefits received before the MCI rent adjustment that results from participation in the J-51 program (A.5827);
  • include former federal Section 8 projects in the types of multiple dwellings that are covered by the New York City Rent Stabilization Law, even if they were constructed after 1974 (A.5828);
  • require New York City Council confirmation of the mayor's appointees to the city's Rent Guidelines Board (A.104-A);
  • require that an owner of a rent-regulated unit comply with an order issued more than four years before an overcharge complaint if the order has not been withdrawn and allow for the examination of a unit's rental history beyond four years in the cases involving fraud (A.748);
  • prohibit the Rent Guidelines Board from granting annual rent increases based on a unit's current rental rate or the amount of time since the unit's rent increased (A.991);
  • extend the amount of time – from 3 years to 6 years – that a landlord must own a rental property before the owner is eligible to apply for a hardship rent adjustment (A.2181); and
  • require buildings removed by their landlords from the Mitchell-Lama program to become rent-stabilized, even if they were constructed after 1974 (A.4051).

"With the passage of this legislation, we have taken a strong stand against unfair housing practices," said Assemblyman Perry. "New Yorkers deserve to live in their homes without the threat of being unfairly forced out of them."