The NYC Rent Guidelines Board Guide To Tenant’s Rights under rent stabilization is comprehensive. Look here for a great summary of rights.
an article By Yongjin Choi, eHow Contributor
updated: January 29, 2011
In New York, the rent stabilization laws provide strict guidelines and rate limits determined by one of four Rent Guideline Boards in the state. In New York City, the New York City Rent Guidelines Board sets the guideline rates every year effective for a one-year lease beginning on October 1st of that year. In New York City, rent can be increased during the tenancy in only three ways.
Rent Stabilization Facts
Historically, in the state of New York, rent regulation laws date back to World War II to protect tenants from landlords who unreasonably raised their rental rates during the housing shortage in the state following the war. There are two types of rent regulation laws. The rent control laws apply to building built before 1947. Rent stabilization laws, however, apply to buildings built between 1947 and 1974. In New York City, landlords renting rent stabilization apartments must comply with the Emergency Tenant Protection Act.
If the lease allows the landlord to raise rent, landlords may only raise a tenant's rent during the term of the tenancy in three situations. First, if the landlord improves the apartment or provides additional services, the tenant can provide written consent of paying the increased amount for the additional services. Second, landlords can raise rent if the state's Division of Housing and Community Renewal approves the increase and the landlord installs a major capital improvement in the landlord's entire building. Lastly, landlords can raise rent with the Division of Housing and Community Renewal's approval if the landlords proves economic hardship.
Rent Overcharge Rights
Tenants have legal rights to receive a refund of rental overpayments from their landlords who illegally raised their rents during their lease terms. If the Division of Housing and Community Renewal determines the landlord willfully or intentionally overcharged the tenant, then the tenant may be able to file a complaint with the housing agency for triple or treble damages based on the overcharged amount.