How Much Can Your Landlord Raise Your Rent In New York City? (Rent Increase Laws)

New York City rent is one of the most expensive in the United States. Even though the majority of New Yorkers would prefer to pay rent forever than own a home, paying rent is not without its challenges. One of which is a rent increase.

A rent increase is a major issue to consider especially if the new cost of rent keeps falling out of your budget, forcing you to keep moving.

Landlord Raise Your Rent

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You can save yourself the heart attack of a surprise increase in rent or the cost of moving by learning all you need to know about rent increases in New York City.

In this post we’ll talk about how much your landlord can legally raise your rent, laws you should be aware of, and what this all means for you as a renter.

Let’s dive in!

When or How Can My Landlord Raise My Rent?

It is legal for your landlord to raise your rent. But not just anyhow.

For starters, your landlord cannot increase your rent during your lease period. They’ll have to wait till after the lease has ended and give due notice before the increase.

Also, the type of rent regulation of your apartment will determine what set of rent increase rules your landlord has to follow.

There are rent-controlled, rent-stabilized, and non-regulated apartments.

Rent Controlled apartments

A rent-controlled apartment is every New York renter’s dream. But it is dying out. Rent control applies to apartments that were built before 1947 that have had continuous tenants since 1971. Rent increase in this kind of apartment is subject to the Maximum Base Rent system.

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Under this system, a maximum amount of rent chargeable is set every 2 years. This system allows for cheaper rent compared to other types of apartments.

Sadly, not everyone can access these kinds of apartments. A rent-controlled apartment can only be passed on to a family member who has been living in the apartment 2 years before the former tenant leaves or dies.

If you’re new to New York and have no friends or family in New York, this kind of apartment is probably inaccessible to you. Otherwise, you can check who is considered to be a “family member” right here.

Rent Stabilized apartments

Rent stabilized apartments are more commonly found and more attainable than rent-controlled apartments.

Rent stabilization applies mostly to apartments built after 1947, before 1974, and have more than 6 units. Apartments removed from rent control may also become rent-stabilized.

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These types of apartments have their rent increase regulated by the NYC Rent Guidelines Board. Rent increase rates are set every year for renewal leases starting on or after October 1st.

Non-regulated apartments

Non-regulated apartments are apartments that have no limit to how much rent increase the landlord can charge. These kinds of apartments are part of the private market and priced around the market rate.

The amount of rent increase is left to the landlord’s discretion. Don’t expect anything too crazy though. Most landlords won’t want to set such unreasonable rates that no one would want to rent the apartment.

Close up image of a real estate agent handing over a house key to a new tenant after receiving a rental deposit. 1

Non-regulated apartments are the easiest to find in New York City but they provide less legal protection for their tenants. They are typically more expensive than the other types of apartments, especially in highly demanded areas.

Notice of Rent Increase

A significant rent increase is enough to cause a renter to be left unable to pay his rent without having a new place to stay. As such, landlords are required to give their tenants notices before increasing the rent. These requirements differ from state to state. In New York City, the requirements are:

A 30-day notice is required if a tenant has lived in the apartment for less than a year, or does not have a lease term of up to a year.

A 60-day notice is required if a tenant has lived in the apartment for over a year, but less than 2 years, or has a lease of at least a year, but less than 2 years.

A 90-day notice is required if a tenant has lived in the apartment for over 2 years, or has a lease of at least 2 years.

How To Know If Your Apartment Is Rent Stabilized

If you’re seeking some kind of rent safety under rent-stabilized apartments, you’ll need to know how to make sure an apartment is rent stabilized. You should:

  • Ask the New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) agency. You can also request the apartment’s rent history.
  • You can request an apartment’s rent history on JustFix.
  • You can also ask your landlord for a copy of the rent stabilization lease rider.

New York City Rent Increase Laws 2022

Rent increase rates for rent-stabilized apartments are set by the New York City Rent Guidelines Board. These rates are set every year but they only put a cap on the percentage a landlord can charge. The exact amount of rent charged is negotiable between you and your landlord.

The previous year’s rent guidelines are applicable to rent increases for leases renewed between October 1st, 2021, and September 30th, 2022:

For a 1-year lease starting within the stated duration: 0% (for the first 6 months) and 1.5% (for the last 6 months of the lease).

For a 2-year lease starting within the stated duration:  2.5%

The current year’s rent guidelines are applicable to rent increases for leases renewed between October 1st, 2022, and September 30th, 2023:

For a 1-year lease starting within the stated duration: 3.25%

For a 2-year lease starting within the stated duration: 5%

How To Prevent Rent Increase

Technically, there’s no sure-fire way to prevent a rent increase. That is up to your landlord and the rules that have to be followed.

But you can make your landlord happy enough to want to keep you as a tenant for as long as possible.

This increases your chances of no or low rent increases or favorable negotiations. Here are some tips on how to do just that:

1. Be a good tenant/neighbor.

You can’t possibly be hoping to be in your landlord’s good graces if you’re a source of misery to the landlord. Be the nice and friendly neighbor that cracks jokes, says hello, and contributes positively to the building or neighborhood. Don’t be the neighbor whose choice of lifestyle affects others negatively, causing countless complaints and death stares. No landlord wants one of those.

2. Pay your rent early.

Again, you’d be a huge source of misery if you’re constantly paying your rent late. Why keep a tenant that doesn’t pay on time when you can trade up for a tenant that does? If you’re going to be stuck with such a tenant, wouldn’t you want to raise the rent too? Pay your rent early. If you try your best and you keep falling short, maybe it is time to admit that you can’t afford the rent. If that is the case, a rent increase will certainly not make things easier. Consider switching to an apartment that costs less.

3. Fix what you can.

In a rental agreement, a landlord is responsible for the maintenance and repairs of the property. But some things are reasonably within your power to fix. Minor repairs like changing light bulbs or tightening screws don’t require calling the landlord or a repairman. Learn to fix what you can and sometimes what you don’t have to e.g., a lightbulb in the hallway. This is one way to become one of your landlord’s favorites.

4. Follow the rules.

Some apartment buildings have rules. They may or may not be part of the lease agreement but exist so tenants in the same building can live in peace or so neighbors on the street don’t have complaints. Breaking those rules is not a good idea. They’ll eventually reach your landlord’s attention and leave a bad impression on you.

5. Bond with your landlord.

If your landlord lives within the same building, that creates the perfect opportunity to create a relationship with the landlord. However, try and make it organic and not like a chore. It would be counterproductive to make it seem like you’re only nice or concerned when a lease period is about to end.

Bonus tip: If you sign a longer lease agreement, you have a longer time to spend without a rent increase.

How to Negotiate Rent

If you’re a tenant in an unregulated apartment, you may not be protected by rent increase laws but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do. You can negotiate smartly. Here’s how to:

1. Do some market research.

Rent in unregulated apartments is typically determined by the demand and supply of the private market. You need to stay up to date on the market rates not only to know how to negotiate a fair deal but also to prepare for any changes that might affect you. Look up apartments that are similar to yours in the neighborhood and find out what they charge. With any luck, your landlord will be impressed with your research skills and see that he won’t be getting a better deal anytime soon.

2. Know your rights.

Just because tenants in unregulated apartments are less protected than tenants in rent-regulated apartments doesn’t mean they don’t have rights.  For instance, a landlord cannot increase the rent by over 5% without a 30-day notice for a one-year lease. When negotiating, demonstrate that you know exactly what your rights are and that you intend to use them.

3. Show your value.

If you’ve been a source of relief for your landlord, now is the time to slyly remind them. “Some other tenant might be able to pay more rent but would they be worth the extra few bucks?” –

Make your landlord think this. And of course, for this to work, you have to be valuable. Help out, make friends, and be a good tenant and the negotiations will be much easier.

4. Beat them to it.

If you stay up to date on the market rates and can smell a rent increase coming, why wait to start the negotiation? Beat your landlord to it and maybe offer a deal or two. This way they know you know your onions and that there’s something in it for them. You can offer to bring referrals, sign a longer lease, pay in advance, etc. Try and make them an offer that you know will matter to them.

5. Be polite.

This goes without saying. While you’re laying the groundwork for your tenant to agree to a favorable negotiation, you wouldn’t want to leave a bad impression, would you? Let’s be honest, some landlords are not very pleasant. Some might even be trying to take advantage of you, but none would take kindly to rude behavior. If you would like to continue living in your apartment regardless of the landlord’s personality, you’ll have to find it within you to remain polite and respectful.

Illegal Rent Increase

Rent increase may be considered illegal and can be refused if:

  1. The increase is higher than the limits set for regulated apartments.
  2. The increase is based on maintenance and repairs that were never done or are not worth the increase.
  3. The landlord failed to notify you within the required period.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can a landlord terminate a month-to-month lease without cause?

A: Yes. A landlord can terminate a month-to-month lease without giving any explanation. However, a landlord can only terminate a month-to-month lease at the end of a lease period, if the landlord has given the appropriate notice beforehand (a 30-day notice).

Q: Can a landlord raise rent month-to-month?

A: If you have a month-to-month lease agreement, your landlord can change any term in the lease as long as they’ve given a 30-day notice.

Q: Can a landlord raise the rent during a lease?

A: No. The landlord must wait until the end of a lease period; before which, the appropriate notice must have been sent.

Q: How often can a landlord increase rent?

A: Technically, there’s no limit to how often a landlord can increase the rent as long as it is after the lease period, within the limit, and with due notice.

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