Tenant Protection Laws
New Protections for Rent-Regulated Tenants

Elimination of Vacancy Decontrol

Owners can no longer remove a unit from rent stabilization after a vacancy if the rent has reached a certain dollar threshold. Previously, owners could deregulate stabilized units and charge incoming tenants market rate once the unit became vacant if the rent amount reached $2,774.76.

Elimination of Vacancy Bonus

Prior to June 14, 2019, owners of rent stabilized apartments were awarded up to a 20% bonus to the "legal" rent in between tenancies. Today that bonus has been eliminated. Did you recently move into a rent stabilized apartment? Find out what the last tenant paid and make sure you aren't being overcharged by getting your rent history! To get your rent history, contact New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal's (DHCR) Rent Administration office at 718-739-6400 or you can access your rent history by using "Rent Info - Submit a Question".

Rent Increases are Based on the Current Rent You Pay

About 250,000 households in New York have a "preferential" rent, meaning that they are paying less than the landlord is legally allowed to charge. While this may sound like a good thing, preferential rents often leave tenants vulnerable to significant rent hikes; rent increases - based on the legal rent - could double or triple the rent in a single year. The new law changed this for the better. Today, rent increases with some very narrow exceptions - currently set by the Rent Guidelines Board at 1.5% for a one year lease and 2.5% for a two year lease - must be based on the preferential rent.

Limits on How Much Owners can Charge Tenants for Building Improvements

New State legislation significantly limits the rent increases that can be charged for Major Capital Improvements (MCI) and Individual Apartment Improvements (IAI). Examples of MCIs include new boilers, and new roofs. Examples of IAIs include bathroom or kitchen renovations. For more information, please visit DHCR's Fact Sheet #26, Guide to Rent Increases for Rent Stabilized Apartments or call DHCR's Rent Administration office at 718-739-6400.

Rent-Regulated Tenants Are Also Covered by Nearly All New Protections Won for All Tenants

View new protections for all tenants
These are just several of the key changes in the new rent laws. To learn more: visit New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) or email DHCR's Tenant Protection Unit: tpuinfo@nyshcr.org.     New Protections for All Tenants

Security Deposits

Your landlord is never allowed to charge more than one month of rent for a security deposit and must return the deposit within 14 days of the end of tenancy.*

Rent Increase Notice

Landlords are required to provide notice to tenants if they intend to raise rent more than five percent or if they do not intend to renew the lease. The landlord must provide such notice at least:
  • 30 days in advance of renewal if a tenant has lived in the apartment less than one year and has less than a 12-month lease
  • 60 days in advance for a tenant who has lived in the apartment for one to two years or for a tenant with a lease term of between one and two years
  • 90 days for a tenant who has lived in the apartment for more than two years or for a tenant with a lease term of at least two years

Mitigating Damages

If a tenant vacates their lease early, landlords must make best efforts to re-rent that unit in order to mitigate or lessen damages that the prior tenant owes.

Unlawful Eviction

Unlawful eviction occurs when a landlord evicts or attempts to evict a tenant without a warrant of eviction or other court order. Unlawful evictions are now a misdemeanor punishable by civil penalty fines of $1,000-$10,000 per violation.

Warrants and Stays of Eviction

After a judgement has been granted in Housing Court, a judge will issue an order indicating the day after which a city marshal may execute a warrant of eviction. The marshal must now serve a 14 day notice upon the tenant prior to execution of the warrant of eviction. The court may stay the issuance of a warrant for up to one year. Factors that the court may consider when granting a stay or the length of the stay, that would cause extreme hardship if the stay was not granted, include serious ill health, significant exacerbation of an ongoing condition, a child's enrollment in a local school or any other extenuating circumstances affecting the ability of the applicant or the applicant's family to relocate and maintain quality of life. The stay of the execution of the warrant of eviction may also be conditioned on the payment of the use and occupancy (rent) during the stay period.

Reversing Evictions

Many tenants are evicted for non-payment of rent. Changes to the law make it easier for families to reverse eviction decisions for non-payment of rent if they are able to come up with the money before the city marshal arrives. The court has the discretion to vacate the warrant and restore the tenant to possession subsequent to the execution of the warrant of eviction for good cause. If you are in this situation, New York City may be able to help. Visit NYC's Human Resources Administration to see if you are eligible for a one-time subsidy to help pay back rent.

Apartment Application Fee

Application fees for an apartment are limited to fees for background checks and credit checks, and now cannot exceed $20. The $20 limitation applies to licensed real estate brokers and salespeople acting as an agent of the "landlord, lessor, sub-lessor or grantor". Learn more about the $20 limitation to apartment application fees.

Late Fees

Late fees can only be charged if rent is received more than five days after the due date established in the lease, and cannot exceed $50 or five percent of the rent, whichever is less.
*The 14 day return of a security deposit does not apply to rent regulated tenants. These are just several of the key changes in the new rent laws. To learn more: visit New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) or email DHCR's Tenant Protection Unit: tpuinfo@nyshcr.org.