January of this year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law numerous amendments to the system of rent stabilization in New York State. Both landlord and tenants agree that the new amendments strongly help tenants’ rights, while limiting those of landlords.
Currently, laws impose a four-year limitation on checking rent history, but now regulators will be able to look back more than four years to determine whether there was ‘a fraudulent scheme’ to destabilize the apartment. Tenants can also go directly to the state to request rent reductions because of service complaints, whereas before they were required to first inform the landlord.
Additionally, the state will begin to enforce and keep tabs on whether or not a building has any housing violations, and they will reject a landlord’s request to increase rent if any violations exist. Previously, they state would only look up violations if someone filed a complaint. Landlords will also be required to make “extensive new disclosures” when they increase rents, so there will be more oversight from the state.
Landlords have had a strong reaction to the new amendments claiming that each of 27 changes adopted by the state were designed to help tenants, and put extra burdens on landlords, especially smaller, less sophisticated ones in less profitable buildings. Also, landlords claim that under the new laws, even simple clerical errors can now lead to harassment charges under the new rules. However, tenants say the changes and increased rights regarding the code redress the imbalance created when the code was last amended in 2000.
Regardless if you are a tenant or a landlord, in the state of New York, you have rights. If you or a loved one believe that your landlord or tenant is in violation of the laws, contact an experienced real estate attorney. A skilled attorney will afford you the representation you deserve and ensure your legal rights are protected.