Tenants Have New Rights!

NYS passed Good Cause Eviction Protections against rent hikes and unfair evictions in April 2024. If you are eligible for Good Cause, you now have a right to remain in your home as long as you pay rent and follow your lease.

STATEMENT: Housing Justice for All Demands Lawmakers Stand Up to Real Estate

“Reinstating perverse incentives to harass tenants would be a capitulation to the real estate industry’s greed and a slap in the face to tenants”

NEW YORK – As negotiations on a comprehensive housing package in the state budget head into another weekend, Housing Justice for All, a statewide coalition of more than 80 organizations that represents tenants and homeless New Yorkers, released the following statement from Cea Weaver, Coalition Director.

“As housing negotiations stretch into another weekend, lawmakers must stand up to the real estate industry’s rapacious efforts to pad their own pockets, and reject efforts to recreate the pre-2019 dynamics that put a target on the backs of rent stabilized tenants.

“Prior to reforms in 2019, landlords used Individual Apartment Improvements to displace thousands of tenants and reduce the supply of affordable housing. Reinstating perverse incentives to harass tenants would be a capitulation to the real estate industry’s greed and a slap in the face to tenants.

“Tenants make up half the state and we need our legislators to fight for more tenant protections, not fewer. We marched on REBNY yesterday to fight back against real estate greed. It’s time for state leaders to choose a side: New Yorkers trying to keep a roof over their heads or real estate executives looking to pad their pockets.”

BACKGROUND

Recent news reports show that the real estate industry is pushing rollbacks to rent stabilization in the 2024 New York State budget. In particular, they are arguing for raising the cap on “individual apartment improvement” increases (IAIs), allowing them the power to pass the cost of maintaining apartments onto renters in the form of huge rent increases. 

Before 2019, if there was a vacancy a landlord could raise the rent to either 1/40th or 1/60th of any improvements done in the apartment. This incentivized making apartments vacant, through various forms of harassment and neglect of repairs. There was no oversight by the Department of Homes and Community Renewal (HCR). Tenants could challenge the rent in the apartment but all information about whether the work was actually done was in the hands of the landlords, making challenges incredibly difficult.  

A report published by the Association of Neighborhood and Housing Development found that IAIs had encouraged real estate speculation because IAIs allowed speculators to assume that they could dramatically increase rents if they could clear out buildings. When the Tenant Protection Unit of HCR began auditing IAI increases, it found that in 40% of the cases, landlords had no proof of apartment improvements. 

Under the current law, landlords can raise rents commensurate with up to $15,000 in individual apartment improvements. For tenants, that equates to a $83/month rent increase in a large building, or $89/month in a smaller building.

Raising the cap will result in commensurate hikes in rent for tenants. Here’s how the possible thresholds would affect monthly rents:

IAIMonthly Rent IncreaseMonthly Rent Increase
CapBuildings Under 35 UnitsBuildings Over 35 Units
$15,000$89$83
$18,000$107$100
$30,000$179$167
$50,000$298$278
$75,000$446$417
$100,000$595$556
$150,000$893$833
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