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Leases - Renewal and Vacancy FAQ

See also Leases-General FAQ's
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Disclaimer: By providing answers to frequently asked questions, the staff of the Rent Guidelines Board attempts to clarify the often complex programs and regulations governing landlord-tenant relations in NYC. However, the information provided herein does not represent official policies or opinions of the City of New York or the Rent Guidelines Board nor should this information be used to substitute for advice of legal counsel.

In addition: The NYS Homes and Community Renewal's Office of Rent Administration (DHCR) also offers useful information on their own FAQ page as well as on their Forms and Information by Topic page.

• NYC.gov has a Buildings and Property FAQ that may provide useful answers.

• The New York Times regularly answers questions from rent stabilized tenants about various housing issues in their Ask Real Estate column.


Am I guaranteed a renewal lease in my unregulated apartment?

No. Except for rent regulated apartments, a tenant may only renew the lease with the consent of the landlord. See the section on Renewal Leases in the NYS Attorney General's Tenants' Rights Guide, linked to from our website. If you face eviction, please see this FAQ.

 

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I am a rent stabilized tenant - do I have the right to a lease renewal?

Although there are some exceptions, tenants in rent stabilized apartments have a basic right under state law to select a lease renewal for a one- or two-year term. The landlord must give written notice to the tenant of the right to renewal no more than 150 days and not less than 90 days prior to the end of the lease. For more information on your right to renewal, check out DHCR Fact Sheet #4. If you face harassment, see DHCR Fact Sheet #17. Contact the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal for additional information.

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How much can the landlord raise my stabilized apartment rent?

Please see the FAQ section on Rents and Rent Increases here.

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How far in advance of the expiration of my rent stabilized lease must I be offered a renewal lease, and how long do I have to return the lease?

The owner of a rent stabilized building is required to send you a lease renewal between 90 and 150 days before your existing lease expires. You then have 60 days to accept the lease renewal offer. If you wait longer than 60 days the landlord can refuse to renew your lease and could move to evict you after the lease expires. For more information on lease renewal in rent stabilized apartments see DHCR Fact Sheet #4. Contact the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal for additional information. More information on eviction can be found in the resources section of our website here and here.

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I sometimes pay my rent late - Will this affect my stabilized renewal lease?

The only way your landlord can deny you a renewal lease is through eviction in Housing Court. Following appropriate notice, a landlord may bring a summary nonpayment court proceeding to evict a tenant who fails to pay the agreed rent when due and to recover outstanding rent. More information on eviction can be found in the resources section of our website here and here.

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My landlord has not sent my renewal lease - What should I do?

If your apartment is rent stabilized, you have the right to a lease renewal. The owner must give written notice of renewal by mail or personal delivery not more than 150 days and not less than 90 days before the existing lease expires. The offer to renew the lease for New York City tenants must be on a Renewal Lease Form [DHCR form RTP-8]. The form is available on the DHCR Web site. Contact the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal for additional information.

If your landlord has not contacted you yet with your renewal lease, you may wish to speak to him/her. To be certain your apartment is rent stabilized, you may wish to call the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR), the state agency that administers the rent laws, at (718) 739-6400. If it is, and you haven't received your renewal lease during the proper time frame, you may want to file a complaint with DHCR. Contact them to file a complaint, or go to their website for a copy of DHCR Form RA-90, Tenant's Complaint of Owner's Failure to Renew Lease and/or Failure to Furnish a Copy of a Signed Lease.

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I didn't return my renewal lease in 60 days - Can I be evicted?

Under the rent stabilization rules, your landlord must mail you a lease renewal 90 to 150 days before your lease expires. If you waited longer than 60 days, the landlord can refuse to renew your lease and could move to evict you after the lease expires. For more information on lease renewal in rent stabilized apartments, see DHCR Fact Sheet #4. Contact the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal for additional information. More information on eviction can be found in the resources section of our website here and here.

However, if the landlord did not offer a timely renewal to you, that is, did not offer the renewal between 90 and 150 days prior to the expiration of the lease, that could be a mitigating factor. So if this is the case, you should probably call the landlord and say that you want to remain in the apartment. If s/he objects, you might remind him that s/he failed to send a timely renewal, and that if s/he attempts to evict you at the end of your lease you will use this in your defense. If the landlord insists on renting to someone else, you should probably consult with an attorney regarding the "late renewal" defense and whether this would stop an eviction action by your landlord. See DHCR Fact Sheet #4 on lease renewal in rent stabilized apartments for more information. Contact the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal for additional information.

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How can I find out if my vacancy lease rent increase is correct?

In order to find out what the prior tenant was paying you need contact the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR). You will want to ask for the rent history for your apartment. In order to obtain the rent history you will have to prove that you are the tenant in that unit because rent information is only given to the owner of the building and the tenants in place. Proof of tenancy is a copy of the signed lease, a telephone bill, etc.

Once you have the prior tenants' rent, you can see if the vacancy increases were applied correctly to the prior tenant's rent. Information on vacancy lease increases are available here.

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Can you help me decide between a one and two-year lease?

The lease renewal guidelines enacted by the NYC Rent Guidelines Board each year are based on a variety of factors, including the six annual reports prepared by the RGB staff, as well as testimony presented to the board at public meetings, hearings and in writing.

It is best to consider each year's guidelines individually before making your renewal lease length decision. For more info, see our webpage detailing the process by which the Rent Guidelines Board determines the guidelines.

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Disclaimer: By providing answers to frequently asked questions, the staff of the Rent Guidelines Board attempts to clarify the often complex programs and regulations governing landlord-tenant relations in NYC. However, the information provided herein does not represent official policies or opinions of the City of New York or the Rent Guidelines Board nor should this information be used to substitute for advice of legal counsel.

In addition: The NYS Homes and Community Renewal's Office of Rent Administration (DHCR) also offers useful information on their own FAQ page as well as on their Forms and Information by Topic page.

• NYC.gov has a Buildings and Property FAQ that may provide useful answers.

• The New York Times regularly answers questions from rent stabilized tenants about various housing issues in their Ask Real Estate column.

RGB Page Updated 9/23/2016

 


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