Getting Around The New Rent Laws

The new rent laws have had everyone scrambling. Landlords have repeatedly warned that the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 will halt major renovations in rent-stabilized properties since the new measure caps rent hikes achieved through Individual Apartment Improvements and Major Capital Improvements. Now that some time (a little) has passed by, landlords are trying to find ways to make things work:

  • Combination: Although it might be rare, the opportunity to combine two rent-stabilized apartments into one apartment would allow a landlord to increase the rent for an initial bump.

  • The Tenant Blacklist: Formerly there was a list of data that was sold to private firms of tenants who had been evicted. Landlords would then not accept these tenants. The new laws have tried to set limitations on this. There seems to be a loophole because of the way data is collected. Additionally, landlords have tightened their income and credit requirements that would essentially rule out former blacklisted tenants.

  • Application Fees: According to the new law, a landlord, lessor, sub-lessor or grantor can only charge up to $20 dollars to conduct a background check — but real estate attorneys say that leaves the door open for brokers and managers.

  • Rent-Regulated Apartments: Seeing the limitations of increasing rent-regulated apartments, some landlords have decided simply not to rent them. JLL’s Bob Knakal said some of his clients are prepared to keep apartments closed off for 10 to 15 years to see if the law changes.

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