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