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Rights and Obligations of Tenants – HPD

Understanding Key Housing Regulations Protecting Renters

Navigating New York’s complex rental housing markets poses considerable challenges for tenants searching for affordable apartments in safe neighborhoods without experiences getting exploited by unscrupulous landlords ignoring property maintenance obligations or imposing unfair lease terms against uninformed renters unaware of hard-fought statutory rights won gradually over decades through repeated legislative reforms and housing court battles eventually affirming bedrock civil protections defending vulnerable occupants against profiteering slumlords seeking maximizing profits over principles. However, grasping fundamental rights and key responsibilities governing rental agreements allows tenants mitigating risks through informed advocacy actions addressing grievances locally first before requesting external municipal interventions refereeing disputes or rallying media coverage shaming publicly notorious slumlords flaunting housing regulations without fear. This guide examines updated tenant rights and provides prudent suggestions asserting those powers judiciously when seeking equitable, lawful resolutions upholding dignity for all parties.

As of June 2019, Permanent Protections for Tenants Exist Statewide

Unless proactively amended or repealed by future elected legislatures, the current rent laws passed remain indefinite after decades of temporary measures. This stability allows tenants relying on consistent safe, affordable housing to plan futures without fear of policy shifts undermining family financial standing.

Housing Reform Focuses Heavily on Capping Rent Increases

Setting clear boundaries regarding how much and how frequently landlords can raise rents, while closing loopholes previously allowing egregious price spikes on stabilized units protects vulnerable renters from pricing pressures forcing relocation after years occupying the same residence.

Specific housing reforms include:

  • Capping annual rent increases percentages for regulated units
  • Extending limits on rent adjustments to formerly deregulated units
  • Requiring landlords prove good faith when increasing legal rents during vacancy between long-term tenants

What are Key Tenant Rights in New York?

Beyond tighter rent increase regulations, additional tenant rights aims passed bolster housing stability for renters of units falling under City and State regulatory umbrellas:

Rights During Lease Renewals or Sales

  • Preferential options renewing leases without drastic price escalations must be provided loyal long-term tenants
  • New owners after building sales cannot refuse lease renewals

Limits on Security Deposit Amounts

  • Total security deposits are capped at 1 month’s rent for tenants consistently maintaining units

Protection Against Unlawful Eviction

  • Landlords found harassing tenants face penalties
  • Local city resources exist assisting unlawfully evicted tenants regain residences through legal processes

By proactively understanding these and additional base rights, New York renters maintain balanced, equitable, and compliant landlord-tenant relations governed by consistent housing regulations and municipal housing agencies.

Ignorance excuses no one. Failure upholding these responsibilities risks enforcement fines levied against neglectful landlords handing authorities justification intervening directly on behalf distressed tenants living conditions fall below acceptable legal standards at any property.

Additional Key Responsibilities for Rental Tenants

While extensive reforms passed empower and shield New York renters enduring previously unchecked landlord actions, tenants also must uphold several basic obligations ensuring successful housing arrangements with owners.

Consistently Pay Agreed Rent on Time

Obviously without exchanging monthly rents for occupying units as contractually agreed and consistently paying full amounts before deadlines, no landlord proves willing hosting non compliant squatter tenants long.

Some city programs assist valid hardships cases on a temporary basis. But broadly, fulfilling rent obligations remains foundational.

Maintain Unit Condition Upon Moving In

Besides consistently paying agreed upon rents on time every single month without delays or excuses, tenants also carry the fundamental responsibility maintaining their individual units cleanly, without inflicting severe physical damage or changes violating leases or housing codes, and keeping units reasonably sanitary without hoarding hazards following initial move-in dates after passing housing habitability inspections.

Specifically, tenants must appropriately clean and keep orderly all rooms inside units through the entire occupancy term – including regularly vacuuming carpets, mopping floors, scrubbing bathrooms/kitchens, dusting surfaces, removing trash and prohibiting piles clutter attracting pests. Units must remain secured always against unauthorized intruders. Strangers should never possess copies of entry keys without landlord approvals facilitating sublets or additions to leases. Residents must follow all written rules and policies applicable to their building.

Additionally, tenants cannot substantially damage any facilities through negligent behaviors. Walls cannot bear smashed holes from violent fights or drunken accidents. Child occupants must refrain coloring magically upon corner stucco because Jimmy’s creative side must roam free rein-free without violating housing maintenance codes! Windows cannot showcase flung paint buckets missing canvases across the apartment courtyard. Rooms should not transform into marine biologist tidepool exhibits at midnight. Basically, respect all physical building aspects expecting normal wear and tear softly across the seasons.

Moreover, tenants cannot radically modify, remove or customize unit elements without formally notifying building ownership first then securing approvals from property managers beforehand through written requests. Want dazzling pink accent walls livening that south studio wall? Seek approvals first before attacking fiercely without mercy during midnight painting parties set to blaring heavy metal finish before dawn so neighbors awaken mystified wondering if Salvador Dali somehow hijacked facilities management while owners vacationed in Aruba unaware. Basically, what exists inside upon first day arriving should largely remain without extreme makeovers or unapproved alterations. Touch base before moving things around extensively.

Quick Summary of Housing Rights and Responsibilities

In summary, extensive housing reforms passed in 2019 eternally changed New York’s rental landscape by permanently instituting tighter tenant protections and long-delayed limits on arbitrary landlord behaviors that previously extracted unfair rents on captive renters lacking options to simply relocate families anytime markets shifted.

For example, limits now exist on how much rents can be raised yearly on existing tenants in rent-stabilized buildings after decades of egregious yet technically legal spikes pricing out generations of low and moderate income working-class families no longer able afford neighborhoods they resided for years. Authorities like the state Attorney General’s office now rigorously pursue civil complaints against predatory landlords violating these statutes.

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FAQ

Q: How much can my landlord raise rents yearly on rent stabilized apartments in NYC?

A: For leases commencing after 9/24/19, landlords can only raise rents by up to 5% each year for rent stabilized apartments during lease renewal periods, regardless of vacancies. This Rent Guidelines Board cap exists to protect affordable housing accessibility for vulnerable residents.

Q: Can landlords request “preferential” rents that exceed legal limits from new tenants?

A: Technically yes temporarily initially, but once approved, the lower legal rents become permanent even upon lease renewals with the same tenant. So preferential rents benefiting new tenants cannot get suddenly revoked at higher rates later exceeding the maximum legal threshold.

Q: What should I do if my landlord tries illegally raising my rent more than 5% at lease renewal?

A: Immediately formally contest inaccurate proposed lease renewal rates exceeding regulatory limits in writing while paying your last agreed rent amount monthly until disputes get resolved. File official rent overcharge complaints alongside evidence. If needed, request a HPD inspection while pursuing legal counsel from tenant advocacy groups in your borough.

Q: Can landlords require tenants to purchase rental insurance covering accidents or damages?

Yes, landlords can require that tenants carry liability insurance covering potential injury incidents or property damages exceeding typical security deposits. Tenants rights do not preclude mandatory insurance requirements protecting owners from liability claims. Shop policies carefully ensuring sufficient coverage meeting leasing company minimums.

Q: What legal protections exist prohibiting landlord harassment of lease-holding tenants?

A: Penalties against predatory landlords found harassing tenants through intimidation tactics or neglecting critical repair requests in attempts to evict protected occupants illegally exist under the 2019 Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act with fines up to $10,000. Housing court proceedings may force such owners selling properties.

Q: What legal recourse exists if my landlord violates rent stabilization laws?

A: Tenants suspecting rent overcharge violations or harassment by landlords can file official complaints with the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) or pursue housing court cases via attorneys to contest illegal actions and seek financial restitution.

Q: Can landlords deregulate rent stabilized apartments upon vacancy?

A: No. As of June 2019, landlords can no longer legally deregulate stabilized units ever, even between tenants. Protections remain permanent on applicable units meeting original statutory construction year requirements.

Q: If I add a roommate, can landlords increase rents on my rent controlled apartment?

A: No, rents cannot be raised solely based upon additional roommate occupants in rent controlled units. However, ensure any new residents get formally registered with building management to avoid lease violation allegations of unauthorized subletting.

Q: What resources help locate affordable rent stabilized apartments in NYC?

A: Beyond private rental brokers, NYC Housing Connect provides a central listings portal populated by developers for income qualified residents to directly apply for units in new affordable housing lotteries expressly set aside via zoning programs subsidizing below-market rents in certain neighborhoods through construction incentives.

Q: Can extensive renovations permanently remove units from rent stabilization?

A: In rare cases yes, if owners prove past high rental vacancy and meet strict requirements that major gut renovations exceeding regulation thresholds now make units economically unfeasible maintaining at previously stabilized rents. But the deregulation petition process faces very stringent scrutiny. Most stabilization statuses endure.

Q: If I become disabled or need a larger unit, does stabilization transfer when moving between owned buildings?

A: Rent stabilization benefits generally do transfer completely when management companies formally approve disabled tenants relocating into more suitable accommodations across rented buildings sharing the same ownership, provided continuous occupancy gets maintained throughout the process without lapses or lease violations.

Q: Can real estate developers bypass rent stabilization on new construction rental properties?

A: Typically yes. Developers can petition for and receive exemptions from long-term rent stabilization controls when buildings get newly constructed expressly as luxury or market rate rental properties not benefiting originally from tax incentive programs or zoning density bonuses requiring setting aside income-restricted affordable units. However, policymakers are revisiting closing this loophole driving gentrification indirectly. Once enacted, even new high-end complexes may face future capped rents and tenant succession rights over time regardless of initial market positioning. Nothing remains guaranteed indefinitely – especially in NYC real estate.

Q: What rights exist if an investment group acquires my building and wants reverting to market rate rents?

A: Sale or transfer of building ownership cannot independently justify existing stabilized tenants getting displaced strictly due to acquisitions before current lease expirations. New controlling entities inherit preceding legal obligations supplying rent renewals at capped amounts despite transferring deeds. However, future deregulation risks do rise under consolidated corporate landlords focused on maximized profits over resident relations long-term.

Q: Can real estate developers bypass rent stabilization on new construction rental properties?

A: Typically yes. Developers can petition for and receive exemptions from long-term rent stabilization control when buildings get newly constructed expressly as luxury or market rate rental properties not benefiting originally from tax incentive development programs or zoning density bonuses requiring setting aside income-restricted affordable units. However, policymakers are revisiting closing this loophole driving gentrification indirectly. Once enacted, even new high-end complexes may face future capped rents and tenant succession rights over time regardless of initial market positioning. Nothing remains guaranteed indefinitely – especially in NYC real estate.

Q: What should I do if my apartment has maintenance issues making living conditions unsafe or unlivable?

A: If an apartment suffers from failures violating housing maintenance code like malfunctioning electrical issues, lead risks, vermin/insect infestations, extreme mold growth or prolonged lack of essential services like heat and hot water, tenants should immediately formally notify landlords in writing as well as contacting housing authorities if imminent health threats exist, rather than attempting makeshift resident repairs. Taking well-documented evidence proving uninhabitable circumstances helps support claims when filing complaints compelling owners addressing dire lapses through professional mitigation services, hotel stays or temporary relocations ending negligent behavior violating statutes protecting tenant welfare. However, always seek cooperation first before pursuing legal actions.

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