Nadel & Ciarlo, P.C.

Rent-stabilized New York apartments deregulated, disputes arise

Nearly 70 percent of the housing market in New York City consists of rental units, and a significant number of those apartments are rent-stabilized. If the monthly rent for an apartment is $2,500 or higher, then the apartment may qualify for removal from rent regulation.

However, a rent-regulated apartment can be deregulated, and according to the New York City Rent Guidelines Board, deregulation happens most often when an apartment becomes vacant and the landlord makes improvements that effectively bump the rent over the $2,500 threshold.

In 2011, New York rent laws were changed to make deregulating rental units more difficult. Still, in 2012, nearly 9,500 apartments left the rent-stabilization system. Statistics show that Brooklyn and Manhattan have seen a particularly acute loss of rent-stabilized apartments. When property owners decide to join the regulated system, the associated tax incentives are usually the main draw.

In some cases, however, there may be landlords who use untoward tactics, such as illegally pressuring tenants to move out, in order to deregulate a rent-stabilized unit. Meanwhile, the tenant feels intimidated and unsure of what to do.

To give lower-income tenants more options, Mayor Bill DeBlasio has announced his intention of expanding affordable housing. The mayor also intends to create a fund for tenants who would otherwise go to housing court without an attorney. Having an attorney in one's corner can be the key to achieving a favorable outcome in a landlord-tenant dispute.

In our January post -- "NYC real estate firm will compensate, bring back ousted tenants" -- we highlighted another landlord-tenant dispute that grabbed a number of headlines. In that case, too, a property owner was accused of trying to force tenants out of state-regulated properties.

Source: The New York Times, "In New York, Push for Market-Rate Housing Pits Landlords Against Tenants," Mireya Navarro, Feb. 24, 2014

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