On January 8th, 2014, the DHCR officially adopted amendments to the Rent Stabilization Code. The amendments, which are effective immediately, are the same as the proposed version that was released on April 24, 2013.
Below is a brief summary of the most significant amendments that were adopted by the DHCR, as well as a link to a complete summary of all adopted amendments as well as the revised DHCR Fact Sheets and Updated Procedures.
IMPORTANT AMENDMENTS ADOPTED
- Tenant Protection Unit:
The TPU is formally designated as a unit of DHCR “to investigate and prosecute violations” of the rent laws.
- Individual Apartment Improvements:
a. Lease riders are required detailing the calculation of rent, including IAI increases.
b. Owners are required to provide tenants, upon a tenant’s request, with documentation
to support the IAI increase.
c. Rent overcharge proceedings can result from the failure to provide the lease rider and/or the IAI documentation.
- Major Capital Improvements:
a. MCI rent increases will not be allowed for conversions from master metering to individual metering (electrical wiring for the building will remain allowable).
b. MCI applications will be rejected with leave to renew if the building has one or more immediately hazardous violations.
- Statute of Limitations:
The four-year overcharge period will be pierced where there is an allegation of fraud, an outstanding rent reduction order, a willful overcharge, a vacant or exempt unit on the base date, or a preferential rent.
- Rent Registrations:
To amend a rent registration, owners will be required to commence an administrative proceeding, upon notice to the tenant.
- Decrease in Services:
a. A tenant’s complaint will not be dismissed due to the tenant’s failure to first provide notice of the condition to owner.
b. Service decrease orders will preclude future MCI and vacancy bonus increases.
c. An owner will have 20 days to respond to a service decrease complaint where the tenant provides prior notice or if the complaint relates to heat or hot water.
- First Deregulated Tenant:
a. Owners are required to provide the first deregulated tenant with an exit notice stating the basis for the deregulation, the rent computation and the last regulated rent.
b. The owner is required to provide the first deregulated tenant with a copy of the rent registration indicating the deregulated rent.
- Preferential Rents:
Preferential rents are required to be set forth in the lease.
- Deemed Leases:
Tenants who do not execute renewal leases will be treated as month-to-month tenants and will not be subject to an automatic lease renewal based upon a deemed lease.
- Default Formula:
Where the rent on the base date cannot be determined or was the result of fraud, the lowest rent for a comparable unit in the building will be used to establish the legal rent.
False filings and false statements by an owner which interfere with a tenant’s rights are included within the definition of harassment.