BILL NUMBER: S2251
TITLE OF BILL :
An act to amend the emergency tenant protection act of nineteen
seventy-four and the administrative code of the city of New York, in
relation to the regulation of rents
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL :
To prohibit an owner from adjusting the amount of preferential rent
upon the renewal of a lease.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS :
Subdivision a-2 of section 10 of section 4 of chapter 576 provides
that where the amount of rent charged to and paid by the tenant is
less than the legal regulated rent for the housing accommodation, the
amount of rent for such housing accommodation may only be increased to
the previously established regulated rent, as adjusted by all
applicable guidelines increases and other increases authorized by law;
provided, however, that such vacancy shall not be caused by the
failure of the owner or an agent of the owner to maintain the housing
accommodation in compliance with the statutory warranty of
habitability. The law is also deletes provisions that permit an owner
to abandon a preferential rent upon renewal of a lease.
As housing costs increase exponentially across the city of New York,
the displacement of working families and middle class residents from
rent regulated apartments has reached crisis proportions. Without
question, the displacement is aggravated by the ability of landlords
to abandon a preferential rent upon the renewal of a lease.
Prior to a change in law, a preferential rent was permanent for the
duration of a tenancy, and could only be increased upon vacancy.
However, as a result of an unfortunate provision inserted into the law
during the eleventh hour in 2003, landlords are now permitted to
abandon a discounted, preferential rent and impose the statutory rent
upon vacancy or renewal of a lease. Pursuant to this provision,
tenants throughout New York city have faced sudden, unanticipated and
staggering rent increases upon lease renewal, often forcing them out
of rent-regulated apartments.
Equally problematic, there is no "clean hands" requirement that the
landlord conduct itself responsibly in order to abandon a preferential
rent and impose the maximum rent upon a vacancy. Consequently, if a
tenant leaves an apartment that is uninhabitable due to lack of heat,
hot water, electricity, repairs or sanitary conditions, the landlord
remains eligible to dramatically increase the rent upon vacancy of an
apartment. As a result, current law encourages bad actors to deprive
tenants of a habitable apartment in order to benefit from the ability
to abandon a preferential rent.
In order to stem the displacement crisis in New York City, and
preserve the affordable housing stock that remains available to
working families and moderate-income residents, the rent regulation
laws are in need of comprehensive reform. Substantial modification of
the preferential rent provisions is an important step in that
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY :
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE & LOCAL GOVERNMENTS :
EFFECTIVE DATE :
This act shall take effect immediately.
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