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Rent-stabilized NYC apartments see rent hikes this week—here’s what that means

If you renew your lease between now and next September, prepare for a modest increase

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As of this week, rent increases have gone into effect for rent-stabilized apartments in New York City. This comes after the Rent Guidelines Board voted in June to allow rent hikes, to the chagrin of both housing advocates (who wanted the city to enact a rent freeze) and landlord reps (who wanted larger hikes).

What does this mean if you live in a rent-stabilized apartment—or if you’re about to sign a lease on one? The RGB voted to allow increases of 1.5 percent on one-year renewal leases, and 2.5 percent on two-year renewal leases. The rules went into effect as of October 1, and will apply to any apartments with leases signed between then and September 30, 2019. (Another RGB vote will happen next year to determine what the increases for 2019-2020 should be.)

“These adjustments shall also apply to dwelling units in a structure subject to the partial tax exemption program under Section 421a of the Real Property Tax Law, or in a structure subject to Section 423 of the Real Property Tax Law as a Redevelopment Project,” according to the Rent Guidelines Board. (In layman’s terms: If you live in a building that gets a tax abatement under the 421-a program, these increases also apply.)

If a tenant vacates their rent-stabilized apartment entirely, any rent increases are subject to the vacancy allowances set forth by the state (and if the previous tenant was paying preferential rent, the margins for increases are slightly more narrow. The “vacancy allowance” is a practice that housing advocates hope to reform or do away with when the rent laws are up for renewal next year.

What this doesn’t mean: If you signed your lease before October 1, your rent will not change. However, if you renew your lease at any point in the period between now and next September, your landlord will be able to raise your rent once your lease expires, within the boundaries set by the RGB.

Rent-controlled apartments are also unaffected by this—they’re governed by different laws, which are explained here.