It is important to note that these FAQs are not intended as a substitute for the definitions, interpretations, etc., contained in the respective rent regulatory statutes, codes, and regulations themselves, or any administrative or court decision construing such statutes, codes, and regulations, or any order of the New York City or County Rent Guidelines Boards.
Is there a difference between Rent Control and Rent Stabilization?

Yes. While rent control and rent stabilization both involve rent regulation, they have different sets of regulations. According to the 2017 NYC Housing and Vacancy Survey, there are about 22,000 rent controlled apartments vs. about 966,000 rent stabilized apartments.

The term “rent regulated” encompasses both rent controlled and rent stabilized units. The NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), the agency that regulates both rent controlled and rent stabilized apartments, explains their differences in Fact Sheet #1: Rent Stabilization and Rent Control and on their Rent Control page:

In New York City, Rent Control tenants are generally in buildings built before February 1, 1947, where the tenant is in continuous occupancy prior to July 1, 1971. Tenants who took occupancy after June 30, 1971, in buildings of six or more units built before January 1, 1974, are generally Rent Stabilized.

In New York City, apartments are under rent stabilization if they are in buildings of six or more units built between February 1, 1947, and December 31, 1973. Tenants in buildings built before February 1, 1947, who moved in after June 30, 1971, are also covered by rent stabilization. A third category of rent stabilized apartments covers buildings with three or more apartments constructed or extensively renovated on or after January 1, 1974 with special tax benefits. Generally, those buildings are only subject to stabilization while the tax benefits continue or, in some cases, until the tenant vacates.

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How do rents increase in rent controlled apartments?

With passage of the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019, effective June 14, 2019, the method by which rents change in rent controlled apartments was significantly changed.

According to Fact Sheet #1: Rent Stabilization and Rent Control:

In New York City, rent control operates under the Maximum Base Rent (MBR) system. A maximum base rent is established for each apartment and adjusted every two years to reflect changes in operating costs. Owners, who certify that they are providing essential services and have removed violations, are entitled to raise rents the lesser of either the average of the five most recent Rent Guidelines Board annual rent increases for one-year renewal leases or 7.5 percent each year until they reach the MBR. Tenants may challenge the proposed increase on the grounds that the building has violations or that the owner’s expenses do not warrant an increase.

In addition, rent controlled tenants will no longer pay or have their rent increased by fuel pass along charges. For further info, contact NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), the state agency which administers the rent laws.

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What is the status of rent control?

Rent control covers about 22,000 apartments occupied generally by an older, lower income population who have been in occupancy since July 1, 1971, or by their lawful successors. Apartments under rent control become decontrolled upon vacancy. If the apartment is in a building with six or more units it will generally fall under rent stabilization upon vacancy. However, the apartment may instead be fully deregulated if it is in a building with five or fewer apartments. For further information on this process, see HCR Fact Sheet #6: Fair Market Rent Appeals.

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May I continue to live in my mom’s rent controlled apartment after she has passed away?

Under the rent control rules, you could take over or “succeed” to the apartment only if you had lived with your mother for the two-year period immediately preceding her passing or departure from the apartment, or, if you are a senior citizen or are disabled, you only had to have lived with your mother for one year. For more information, see HCR Fact Sheet #30: Succession Rights.

Succession rights are also discussed in our Succession Rights FAQ.

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How much can the rent be increased after a rent controlled tenant vacates an apartment?

According to HCR Fact Sheet #6: Fair Market Rent Appeals:

In NYC, when a tenant moves out of a rent controlled apartment, the apartment becomes decontrolled. If that apartment is in a building built before January 1, 1974, containing six or more units at any time, it becomes rent stabilized. The owner must register the unit with the NYS Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) by completing the Initial Apartment Registration, (DHCR Form RR-1) and must provide the tenant with a copy by certified mail. The owner may charge the first stabilized tenant a rent negotiated between them, which is subject to the tenant’s right to file a “Fair Market Rent Appeal” (FMRA).

For more information about decontrol, see HCR Fact Sheet #6: Fair Market Rent Appeals.

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