NY State Passes The Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019

June 20, 2019 – Press Release
Herrick, Feinstein LLP

On Friday June 14, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019, which represents sweeping reform of New York’s regulatory regime of affordable housing.

While the focus of many has been on the changes to the State’s rent stabilization law, landlords and tenants should understand that the legislation’s effects go beyond rent stabilization. The act, which is divided into 15 sections (Parts A to O), does the following:

A.  Eliminates the "sunset" provisions of the rent regulatory regime that previously required the renewal of the rent regulations every few years;

B.  Repeals various rent regulations regarding the setting of rents upon vacancy and eliminates the automatic 20% vacancy allowance and longevity increases previously permitted in a rent stabilized lease to a new tenant;

C.  Prohibits the setting of vacancy allowances on a new tenant’s lease by the Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) and further prohibits setting rent increases based upon the current rental amounts or the length of time since a prior increase was granted;

D.  Repeals the luxury deregulation provision;

E.  Prohibits a landlord from increasing the rent to the legal rent after the tenant has been paying a "preferential" rent;

F.  Strengthens requirements regarding investigation of rent overages complaints by removing a landlord’s ability to avoid penalties if the landlord voluntarily recalculates the rent and refunds the overcharge and increases the look-back period for determining overcharges from 4 years to 6 years;

G.  Permits cities throughout the state in addition to New York City to adopt rent regulations laws and procedures with certain limited exceptions;

H.  Eliminates in the case of Rent Control the automatic 7½% rent increases previously permitted each year in favor of the lesser of 7½% and the average of the past 5 years of RGB allowable one-year increases;

I.  Abolishes the ability of a landlord to recover more than one apartment for his or her own use and creates a cause of action for a tenant who was required to surrender such an apartment for fraud;

J.  Removes the exemption of a housing accommodation owned by non-profit charitable entities from rent stabilization;

K.  Reforms rent increases for individual apartment improvements, or IAIs, by capping the amount of IAI spending at $15,000 over a 15-year period and lowers the rent increase cap for major capital improvements, or MCIs, from 6% to 2% in New York City and from 15% to 2% in other counties;

L.  Enacts the "rent regulation reporting act of 2019";

M.  Modifies sections of other State laws to enact the "statewide housing security and tenant protection act of 2019";

N.  Limits condominium and cooperative conversions by removing eviction plans from future filings and by requiring that 51% of tenants in residence agree to purchase apartments before conversions can be effective; and

O.  Creates mobile and manufactured home tenant protections.

We are closely monitoring these and other regulatory developments as we analyze the new regulatory landscape and as key stakeholders assess their response to the regime and how to appropriately comply. 

We are available to address any questions that may arise. For more information on this issue or other real estate matters, please contact:

Jonathan A. Adelsberg

Douglas P. Heller

Mitchell A. Korbey

Scott E. Mollen

Patrick J. O’Sullivan, Jr.

Belinda G. Schwartz

Philip Tucker

©2019 Herrick, Feinstein LLP. This release is provided to inform clients and other parties about legal news and legal developments that may affect or interest them. The information is not intended as legal advice or legal opinion, and should not be construed as such. Some provisions of the Act appear to be unclear and ambiguous and must await clarification by the courts, agencies and/or the Legislature.