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Understanding the basics of rent stabilization

People in New York have seen prices rise in almost every aspect of life over the years. Things simply cost more than they used to. This includes the amount of rent that they must pay. Landlords would love to raise the rent in many of their buildings, but there are certain rules in place that at least control how quickly the landlords can raise their rent. These are known as rent stabilization rules and ensure that rent cannot be increased too much, too quickly.

Landlords can only increase rent during a lease renewal or new lease, according to the rent stabilization guidelines. Currently, that means they can only increase rent from the previous amount of rent 1.25 percent for one year leases and 2 percent for two year leases. They also must keep records of the rent to ensure that tenants know how much rent can be increased.

There are a couple of exceptions to this rule, the main one being if the landlord made Major Capital Improvement to the building. If the landlord made improvements, beyond ordinary repairs, for maintenance or operation of the building that benefits all tenants in the building, they may be allowed to raise rent beyond the guideline amount. If the improvements do meet all the requirements, rent can only be increased by 6 percent for any one year though.

Landlords in New York may try to circumvent these laws so that they can start charging more rent. If a tenant believes this is occurring, they may be able to put a stop to it or collect money they overpaid, if they did not initially realize that the landlord illegally raised the rent. But, there are some exceptions to the rule and these landlord/tenant disputes can depend on the specific facts of one's current situation.

Source: www.nycrgb.org, "Rents and Rent Increases FAQ" accessed Oct. 31, 2017

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