With New York’s rent regulations up for renewal in June, there are several bills in the Legislature that claim to be designed to strengthen tenant protections. Two that appear to have garnered favor with the governor are one that would eliminate vacancy decontrol and another that would limit a landlord’s ability to revoke a preferential rent. But might these bills be more trouble than they are worth?
Under applicable law, where an apartment is rent-stabilized its “legal rent” must be registered with the state Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR). Each year, the Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) determines the percentage by which landlords may increase that legal rent for lease renewals. If an apartment becomes vacant, however, it may be removed from rent stabilization altogether if its legal rent exceeds a statutory maximum (currently $2,700). This is vacancy decontrol.