Understanding Rental Increases

Landlord-tenant disputes can occur for numerous reasons with the most common issues arising due to the non-payment of rent.

According to the New York State Attorney General, the rental units are described as follows:

  • Regulated Housing (rent controlled and rent stabilized);
  • Unregulated Housing (private ownership);
  • Special Housing (mobile homes, residential hotels, lofts); and
  • Government-Financed Housing (section 8, public housing).


Rent control places a monetary cap on the yearly increases of rental payments and applies only to dwelling structures built prior to 1947. In order to meet eligibility requirements for rent control, the same tenant (or their next of kin) must have been living at the residence continuously since 1971. Once a rent-controlled residence has been vacated, the property will either be absorbed as a rent stabilized structure or removed from regulation entirely.

For unregulated properties, the landlord will only be able to increase your rent if (1) an increase is written into the lease or (2) at the end of the lease term.  Landlords of unregulated housing are subject to strict discriminatory and retaliation regulations.   A landlord cannot raise the rent due to racial, religious, or sexual identity or as retribution for a legitimate complaint filed by the tenant.

Rent stabilization has become more prominent in recent years as it limits the amount a Landlord can increase a Tenant’s rent payments annually.   Rent stabilization refers to buildings constructed before 1974 that contain more than six units.  The amount a Landlord can charge for a rent stabilized apartment for a one-term lease allows for an increase of no more than 1.5 percent or 2.5 percent for a two-year lease agreement.  Another type of rent stabilization lease is known as a vacancy lease which could cause a potential rent increase of up to 20 percent.  In the event that the apartment being vacated had been receiving preferential rent, i.e. locked in at a particular rate due to a long-term lease, the new tenant moving into the residence could be subject to pay significantly more based on the current market value of the property.

If you are unsure whether your apartment is rent controlled or rent stabilized, you can complete a submission form at the New York State Division of Homes and Community Renewal website and receive a response within 3-4 business days.

If you are experiencing rental concerns due to unlawful rent increases or feel that you have been discriminated against by your landlord, it is important that you speak with an experienced landlord-tenant dispute lawyer who can help you understand your renter’s rights. The attorneys at HOBSON-WILLIAMS, P.C., will work to ensure you receive the justice you deserve and that your housing issues are addressed with care. For more information about our firm or to schedule a consultation, call our office at 718-210-4744.

Written by Tanya Hobson Williams

Appointed to the bench by the Board of Trustees in 2008, and elected in 2009, Tanya Hobson-Williams was the first African-American Female Justice in the Incorporated Village of Hempstead. Tanya Hobson–Williams obtained her B.A. in Government and Politics from St. John’s University and her law degree from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

Tanya Hobson-Williams has an active elder law practice assisting senior citizens in obtaining Medicaid for Home Care and Nursing Home Care. She routinely lectures at senior citizen centers, assisted living facilities, law schools and counsels families on a variety of topics of concerns to families caring for the elderly.

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Author: Tanya Hobson Williams

Appointed to the bench by the Board of Trustees in 2008, and elected in 2009, Tanya Hobson-Williams was the first African-American Female Justice in the Incorporated Village of Hempstead. Tanya Hobson–Williams obtained her B.A. in Government and Politics from St. John’s University and her law degree from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. Tanya Hobson-Williams has an active elder law practice assisting senior citizens in obtaining Medicaid for Home Care and Nursing Home Care. She routinely lectures at senior citizen centers, assisted living facilities, law schools and counsels families on a variety of topics of concerns to families caring for the elderly.

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