New York Rent Increases & Fees

Last Updated: May 10, 2022 by Elizabeth Souza

QUICK FACTS
  • Rent Control / Increase Limitations. New York state landlords can raise rent only after the lease has ended.
  • Notice Required to Raise Rent. Depending on the tenancy, a 30-Day Notice, 60-Day Notice, or 90-Day Notice.
  • Bounced Check Fees. New York state landlords may charge up to $20 for bounced checks.

When Can a Landlord Increase Rent?

Generally, a landlord must wait until the lease ends before increasing rent. (NY RPL 226-C) It’s important to check if the lease indicates otherwise or if the dwelling unit is in a rent controlled or rent stabilized area.

Rental increases are controlled when the dwelling unit is subject to rent control or rent stabilization. Rent increases outside of annual increase include Major Capital Improvements and Individual Apartment Improvements.

  • Rent Control refers to buildings built in prior to February 1, 1947. Additionally, the tenant/family must have occupied that dwelling unit since July 1, 1971.
  • Rent Stabilization refers to buildings that were built before January 1, 1974 and have six or more units. These buildings cannot be made into a co-op or a condominium. However, some newer buildings have designated rent-stabilized units due to recent tax credits for developers. Other buildings might have a mix of stabilized and non-stabilized apartments.

To find out if your apartment is rent stabilized, use this HCR Registered Building Search or contact NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) .  This is the state agency which administers rent laws.

When is it Illegal to Raise Rent?

A landlord may not raise rent in retaliation when a tenant has exercised a legal right so long as the property has more than four units. (NY RPP 223-B)

According to the Federal Fair Housing Act it is also illegal for a landlord to increase rent in a discriminatory fashion. A landlord may not increase the rent amount due to the tenant’s race, gender, religion, nation of origin, familial status, or disability status.

Under the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019, vacancy bonuses and longevity bonuses are prohibited.

Is there a Rent Increase Limit?

New York landlords must abide by the lease agreement and generally must wait until the end of the lease term to increase rent. Below we will look at the limits for rent control and rent stabilization.

Rent Controlled Inside New York City – The Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) determines the Maximum Base Rent (MBR) every 2 years. They also determine the maximum collectible rent for each rent-controlled apartment.

The highest amount a landlord can increase rent is the average of the five most recent Rent Guideline Board annual rent increase for one-year renewals or 7.5% each year until they reach the MBR, whichever is less. (HCR Fact Sheet #1)

Rent can increase in the following ways:

  • With the tenant’s written consent, the owner may increase services/equipment or make improvements.
  • With DHCR approval and if the owner installs a Major Capital Improvement throughout the building.
  • Hardship with DHCR approval.

Rent Controlled Outside of New York City – The DHCR determines the rate of the rent increase under rent control which is subject to the limitations of the annual Rent Guidelines Boards. Owners can apply for these increases. (HCR Fact Sheet #1)

Rent can increase in the following ways:

  • With the tenant’s written consent, the owner may increase services/equipment or make improvements.
  • With DHCR approval and if the owner installs a Major Capital Improvement throughout the building.
  • Hardship with DHCR approval.

Rent Stabilization – Once a year, the Rent Guidelines Board establishes the maximum amount that rent can increase. New York City, Nassau County, Westchester County and Rockland County have their own Board. (HCR Fact Sheet #1)

Rent increases can happen during the term of the lease in the following ways:

  • If the lease allows an increase during the lease.
  • With the tenant’s written consent, the owner may increase services/equipment or make improvements.
  • With DHCR approval and if the owner installs a Major Capital Improvement throughout the building.
  • Hardship with DHCR approval.

Preferential Rent-If a tenant is paying a preferential rent, meaning the landlord is offering a rent regulated lease and rent payment is less than what the landlord can legally charge under rent regulation, a landlord cannot revoke the preferential rent or raise the rent higher than the capped amount of the Rent Guidelines Board. This also includes any charges for Major Capital Improvements or Individual Apartment Improvements. (NYC Admin. Code § 26-511(14))

Major Capital Improvements – Under the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019, counties where there is no rent stabilization, Major Capital Improvements that benefit all the property tenants, will allow a landlord to raise rent a maximum of 2% annually, instead of 6%. (NYC Admin. Code § 26-511.1 The 2% increase also applies to Major Capital Improvements that happened between June 16, 2012 and June 16, 2019.

Individual Apartment Improvements – Rent increases have a maximum of at $89.29 for buildings with fewer than 35 units and $83.33 for buildings with more than 35 units. (NYC Admin. Code § 26-511.1)

Succession Rights- It should be noted that these units may be passed from one family member to another preserving the rent-controlled status of the property. For more information on succession rights, click here.

How Much Notice is Needed for Raising Rent?

In the state of New York, landlords must provide tenants with an advance notice if the rent will increase by 5% or more: (NY Real Prop. § 226-c.)

  • A 30-Day Notice – for tenants who have rented less than 1 year; or does not have a lease term of at least one year.
  • A 60-Day Notice – for tenants who have rented more than 1 year but less than 2 years.
  • A 90-Day Notice – for tenants who have rented for more than 2 years.

If the landlord fails to provide the appropriate amount of notice, the tenant may continue at the existing rental rate even if the lease has expired. The landlord may not evict the tenant for failing to pay the increased rental amount.

Landlords renting regulated properties must provide tenants with 90-120 days’ notice before raising rent.

For a FREE rent increase notice template, click here.

How Often Can Rent Be Increased?

Generally, a landlord may not increase rent until the end of the lease agreement. Rent increases can happen once a year for units with rent control, rent stabilization, major capital improvements or individual apartment improvements,

Laws Regarding Late Fees

A landlord may charge $50 or 5% of the monthly rent, whichever is less. (NY Real. Prop. § 238-a)

Late fees are not recoverable in an eviction proceeding.

Laws Regarding Bounced Check Fees

Fees for returned checks may not exceed $20. The amount of the returned check fee must be specified in the lease agreement.

Cities in the State With Rent Control

New York City, Nassau County, Westchester County, Albany County, Erie County, Rensselaer County, and Schenectady County have rent control for buildings built prior to Feb. 1, 1947. Additionally, to have a rent-controlled unit, the tenant must have rented the unit since before July 1, 1971. Rent Stabilization refers to tenants who have occupied the property since June 30, 1971. Additionally, the building they live in must have more than six units and built before Jan. 1, 1974.

Nassau, Rockland, and Westchester counties have declared an emergency allowing them to adopt the Emergency Tenant Protection Act (ETPA). Buildings covered under this act generally have more than six apartments. The act allows for the regulation of rents, services, leases, and evictions of these rental properties.

The Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) exempts low-income renters aged 62 or older from many rent increases and exempts them from their cooperative’s carrying charges, voluntary capital contributions, or capital assessments so long as they are paying a minimum of one third of their disposable income on rent.