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.
- Will my apartment remain rent stabilized after my landlord no longer benefits from the tax break?
- How do I find out when my building’s tax abatement expires?
- Can a landlord increase the rent more than the permitted guidelines in a 421-a building?
- Can I fight the increase when the tax abatement on my building expires?
Will my apartment remain rent stabilized after my landlord no longer benefits from the tax break?
If a new building is constructed or an old building is fully rehabilitated the owner can receive an abatement/exemption from real estate taxes for a prescribed period from the City. In return for this tax benefit, the building is placed under rent stabilization. After the benefits expire, rent stabilization coverage may expire if the landlord follows the correct procedure.
If the building was rehabilitated or converted from another use, the abatement is known as a J-51 tax abatement. If it is recently constructed, the abatement may be known as a 421-a tax abatement.
The expiration of J-51 benefits does not always affect the stabilization status of buildings. If the building was rent stabilized before the tax benefits were applied, then the expiration of those benefits would not affect the building’s regulated status. But if the units received stabilization status as a result of its J-51 tax benefits, then whether or not the building loses rent stabilization protection would depend on whether the owner gave proper notices in the lease and each renewal.
Only when a building was converted from nonresidential space to residences or was fully rehabilitated does the expiration of benefits mean the end of stabilization in the building. If your building falls into one of these categories, the owner may deregulate the apartment if the lease and each renewal contains a prominent notice (in 12-point type) informing the tenant that:
- the unit shall be subject to deregulation upon the expiration of the tax benefits; and
- the approximate date on which the tax benefits are to expire.
If the lease contains the proper notice, coverage expires when the last lease commencing during the benefit period expires.
If no such notice is included, a tenant in occupancy retains the full benefits of rent stabilization, including the right to renewal leases.
Under the 421-a program, if the apartment became subject to rent stabilization after July 3, 1984, the apartment will undergo deregulation if the owner has included a prominent notice in the lease and each renewal that stabilization coverage will expire following expiration of the tax benefit and the approximate date of such expiration. As with the J-51 program, protection will continue until the end of the last lease signed while the benefit period was in effect. However, apartments in buildings constructed under the 421-a program which became subject to rent stabilization before July 3, 1984, remain rent-stabilized tenants until the first vacancy occurs after the expiration of the tax benefits, even if the vacancy occurs long after the tax benefits have expired. This vacancy deregulation does not occur if the vacating tenant was forced out through harassment.
To determine the beginning and end dates for tax benefits given to a building for either of these two programs, visit the NYC Department of Finance J-51 Exemption and Abatement and 421-a Exemption webpages. Also available is a list of all NYC Tax Incentive Programs. More details can also be found in HCR Fact Sheet #41: Tax Abatements.
How do I find out when my building’s tax abatement expires?
Your landlord should have included a clause in your lease indicating the date of expiration. Without this notice, the landlord may not be entitled to deregulate the apartment. To find out the length of the exemption, and the period it is effective, see the NYC Department of Finance J-51 Exemption and Abatement and 421-a Exemption webpages.
Can a landlord increase the rent more than the permitted guidelines in a 421-a building?
Landlords of 421-a buildings in some cases may be allowed to add an annual 2.2% surcharge to the rent for some units during each year of the phase-out period of the building’s 421-a benefits. Once deregulated, the landlord may negotiate a market rate lease. More details can be found in HCR Fact Sheet #41: Tax Abatements. Also see HPD’s 421-a webpage.
If you believe you are being overcharged, you may file a rent overcharge complaint NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), the state agency which administers the rent laws.
Can I fight the increase when the tax abatement on my building expires?
While there is no mechanism to stop the expiration of a tax benefit, under some circumstances tenants will remain under stabilization after the tax benefits expire. We suggest that you consider the following:
- Confirm that the tax benefits are about to expire by visiting the NYC Department of Finance J-51 Exemption and Abatement and 421-a Exemption webpages.
- Review the requirements in HCR Fact Sheet #41: Tax Abatements.
If you find that there is anything out of order, you could retain an attorney or investigate further by contacting NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), the state agency which administers the rent laws. Also see our Legal Assistance page.