With so many New Yorkers living in a rental unit, the city has established a number of laws that protect the rights of tenants. In 2019, new laws went into effect that impacted renters and landlords.
In general, these laws made it harder for landlords to evict tenants and strengthened laws for New Yorkers living in rent-stabilized apartments and elsewhere.
Recent protections for rent-regulated properties
According to the NYC Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants, rent can only increase at a rate of 1.5% of the current rent charged in a rent-regulated property for a one-year lease and 2.5% for a two-year lease. Previous to the new law, a rent increase could be more than that if the renter paid a lower, preferential rate. The old law left tenants vulnerable in some circumstances to significant rent increases.
Another section of the law limited the amount owners can charge renters for capital improvements. The law stipulated two types of improvements: a Major Capital Improvement such as boilers or a new roof, and Individual Apartment Improvements such as upgrades to bathrooms or kitchens.
Broader protections for all New York renters
The New York Times reported that the new laws largely helped the 2.4 million renters in New York City, but also provided protections to renters statewide. For example, security deposits required of rentals cannot exceed more than the cost of a month’s rent. The law also makes it easier for renters to get a security deposit back.
Landlords must now inform a renter with a notice if they intend to raise rent by more than 5% and if they intend to not renew a lease. In general, renters and renter organizations look favorably on the new laws, while landlords and real estate entities see the new laws as unfavorable.