The Real Deal New York

State agency shifts rent regulation rules in tenants’ favor

February 11, 2014 03:42PM

Raising the rent just got harder, and landlords aren’t happy.

The state agency that monitors rent regulation in the state of New York has adopted new rules that will make it easier for tenants to challenge rent increases. Landlords must now make heftier disclosures about any upswing in rent charged, and tenants will now have an easier time fighting back against hikes. They will also have easier access to detailed documentation, in spite of a strict four-year statute of limitations on such legal action that is enshrined in state law.

“It’s major and it’s anti-landlord,” Adam Leitman Bailey, a New York lawyer who represents both landlords and tenants, told the Wall Street Journal.

Landlords balked at the 27 changes made by the state’s Homes and Community Renewal agency, charging that they place a burden on smaller landlords in less profitable buildings. Harassment charges could now stem from even simple clerical errors, they say, and landlords take issue with tenants now being able to file a state rent decrease request before notifying the building owner of any issues.

Adding insult to injury, all of the landlord-proposed rule changes were rejected, landlords told the Wall Street Journal.

Those on the tenant side say the new rules only correct an imbalance from when the code was last altered in 2000 during then-Governor George Pataki’s administration. At the time, they say, the rules slanted in favor of landlords. [WSJ]Julie Strickland

  • Freethemarket

    These economically illiterate bureaucrats just LOVE mingling in the private market. I wonder what the unintended consequences of these changes will be.

    • there is no housing shortage

      smaller owners will have to sell to deeper pockets who will then bring their wallets to full bear to investigate and deal with tenants who had previously enjoyed decades of touch me not status so it isn’t anti-landlord – it’s just anti-incumbent small owners

    • such is progress

      nothing is free – this invitation for tenants to abuse the system by filing rent decreases with coordinated sabotage ….

      there’s always a bigger picture – I think only Manhattan is at stake and that explains a lot about how much rope and coverage the most toxic elements are given within a community

      We’ll just have to make the best of it and analyze the fireworks as if we weren’t the cannon fodder.

  • flipoutnyc

    State law should promote everyone to move upstate New York. Its cheaper up there.

    • war drums

      plenty of people employed in Manhattan commute from places even further than Newburg and they HATE the people (coworkers) who are on public assistance and live in affordable housing and get everything covered for them.

      that’s the club that awaits the rest of us who don’t qualify for subsidies – digging out from Newburg – aiysh!

      Why would anyone stay in NYState if they didn’t have to?

  • bugmenot

    ugh – WSJ paywall

  • noclist

    This doesn’t even cover rent stabilized. Wait and see the rent freezes over the next 4 years now that comrade Deblasio is making the appointments.

    • thank you new york

      oh, well, it could be worse – we could be living in some Third World country – landlords are just going to accept that we were a part of subsidizing affordable housing for decades and we tried our best and we have nothing to show for it not even a iron rice bowl salary – that was our contribution to America and it was less than John Basilone’s in The Pacific.

      That spiderweb that Adam Leitman Bailey describes could become a good book of anecdotes – like voyeuristic journeys into terror for reading on the plane. It could even become a sitcom a la Seinfeld where every week, there’s a fresh hell – just think of the laughs.

      I have a handycam tape of my rent controlled tenant pouring hot water down the public stairwell like Niagara Falls in the middle of the night. For some reason, we woke up and dropped off Home Depot cleaning rags in the early am because we didn’t want to stop the car during traffic AND turned on the handycam downstairs because we were scared of our tenants and caught her red or rather wet handed.

      I have to go comfort my mother who has a no other future ahead of her except dealing with false heating complaints and rents reduced to one dollar.

  • Grossedout

    STUPIDONOMICS rules. Unreal. Of course its just a select few who get the good deal: the rest of us have to pay for it.

  • so exciting – a PLOT
  • credit checks & asset reports

    Since they want Governor Cuomo to list the rent regulated buildings and apartments in the city, I am guessing that quid quo pro background information on tenants can’t be far behind because what if some dude is claiming multiple Chinatown boltholes for his hoarding collection while owning second homes which he spends most of his time in given his convenient work schedule and he applies for other government handouts.

    We wouldn’t want to allow corruption, now would we?

    And if the elderly are frightened of having their rent raised in Canada’s Chinatown, we need to know how much the social security payments are to the regulated elderly tenants in New York because there is no way that elderly people can be mistakenly charged too high a rent hike if they are not receiving four figure checks every month.

  • TREBLE damages

    Do the new regs say anything about Airbnb?

    It’s my understanding that rent controlled tenants cannot overcharge subtenants however secret so if the news gets out that these subtenants even if they were only there for a weekend can sue the tenant of record for treble damages (overcharge) then YEAH, we need to make public exactly which buildings and units are rent regulated AND for how much because there is no way a landlord will welcome a treble damages lawsuit from an airbnber who was only there for one night but that $200 was already more than the monthly rent on that one bedroom rent controlled apartment in “Nolita.”

    put all that info out there cuz it is NOT the landlord’s shame that they are carrying the majority of the units in the building and put the tenant of record names up otherwise the airbnbers complaints are going to be defended against by “Don” will claim that he didn’t rent it out, it was his brother “Dan” who had no authority and was acting as a renegade when he “borrowed” his old apartment for the weekend or “Fred” will claim not only to be his twin brother but that he himself “Fred” does not actually exist – he’s EVAPORATED.

    Definitely – put the DHCR tenant of records and their rents and their addresses up on the internet for the whole world to see and have airbnb link to that url because there is no way that we want this landing on landlords who were never even told that keys to those units were given out to unauthorized subtenants.

    • Macabre, isn’t it?

      airbnb means that areas where hotels are now enriching the neighborhood will also increase the desirability for nearby sub rosa airbnb apartments.

      But the problem is that parasitic effect will damage the new hotels who have taken a chance on that new neighborhood in Manhattan and they are spending money to enrich nearby tenants of record – hotels will be paying to make someone else rich whose new wealth will be based on stealing business from the provider of the bounty …

  • JEng

    There was no press coverage on these changes in the newspapers.