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In The News: Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 Signed Into Law

On June 14 of this year, Governor Cuomo signed the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 into law. This bill creates big changes for landlords and new protections for tenants. It even creates protections for those who live in mobile home parks.

Here’s what the law does.

Ends Big Rent Increases in Regulated Rentals

Regulated rentals include both rent controlled and rent stabilized apartments.

Rent increases in these apartments typically used to come from one of a handful of sources:

  • The unit would go vacant, and the owner would use the opportunity to “decontrol” the unit before renting it out again. Often, the rent would then see a significant increase.
  • MCI increases which covered improvements on the building.
  • Deregulating apartments because the people living in them made $200,000 or more per year.
  • By using IAI (Individual Apartment Increases) to charge higher rents after making improvements or updates to a unit.
  • By using “owner use” loopholes to deregulate apartments.

Now all of these loopholes have closed. MCI didn’t end, but their increases have been capped at 2% per year. IAI increases have been capped at $15,000 every 15 years, which means each year rent can only go up $83.33 per month no matter what improvements the landlord made.

Tenants must be given 30 days notice for any rent increase higher than 5%, and 30 days notice if you do not plan to renew the lease. If the renter has been in the unit for over a year he or she must receive 60 days notice.

Makes Preferential Rents Permanent

Often, landlords would offer vastly reduced rents to tenants to get them into the apartment. They’d then raise those rates later, often doubling or tripling what the tenant had been paying.

This is no longer allowed. The Act now demands that you leave preferential rents in place for the duration of the lease.

Tenants Gained Security Deposit Protections

Landlords may only charge a security deposit equal to one month’s rent. It is now a lot easier for tenants to get their security deposits back, too.

Landlords must now return these deposits 14 days after the tenant leaves the apartment, and must present tenants with an itemized bill for any deductions that were made.

See also: What Are Your Rights if a Tenant Trashes Your Long Island Rental Property?

Tenants Gained Increase Protections Against Evictions

In the past, landlords could blacklist tenants who sued them for any reason. The law puts an end to this practice.

Unlawful eviction is also now a misdemeanor crime. Landlords may be fined anywhere from $1000 to $10,000. The court may also impose additional fees. The law lists a great many actions which are considered to be unlawful eviction, including changing locks without providing tenants with a key.

Judges may also stay evictions for up to one year.

See also: These Six Tips Can Lead to a Good Landlord/Tenant Relationship.

Rent Regulation is Permanent

In the past, rent regulation laws needed to be renewed. They did not automatically remain on the books.

Now the law is permanent, and creates rent controls across the State of New York, not just in New York City or the Long Island area.

Responding to the Bill

Obviously this bill is hotly contested and highly controversial. But it’s not going away any time soon. It’s probably not a good idea to panic.

The main thing for you to do now is to understand how the law applies to you, and to decide how you’re going to respond to it. You may also want to consult with a real estate attorney to discover whether actions you intend to take will be impacted by this law.