January 6, 2016
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Launches Initiative to Return Thousands of New York City Apartments to Rent Regulation

Governor Cuomo Launches Initiative to Return Thousands of New York City Apartments to Rent Regulation

Governor Cuomo announced a major initiative to return up to 50,000 illegally deregulated apartments to rent regulation, restoring rights to thousands of tenants. The owners of the targeted buildings are receiving J-51 tax benefits and claim to be exempt from rent regulation, contrary to the law. Each will be instructed via a letter to re-register their units.

"There will be zero tolerance for those who disregard the law and reap these benefits while denying tenants affordable housing they are obligated to provide," Governor Cuomo said. "We're pursuing every avenue to return these units to rent stabilization and take us one step closer to ensuring every New Yorker has a safe, decent and affordable place to call home."

New York courts have determined that any apartment that was subject to Rent Stabilization at the date of the receipt of the J-51 benefits must register those units as rent stabilized. This effort, which is pursuant to those decisions, is expected to return approximately 50,000 apartments to rent regulation and provide the tenants of these units with protections under the Rent Stabilization Law and Code including annual renewal leases and rent increases pursuant to the Rent Guidelines Board.

Roughly half of the buildings affected have more than 36 units and about half are smaller buildings with fewer than 36 units. The effort will return almost 2,000 buildings in Manhattan, more than 500 buildings in the Bronx, more the 800 buildings in Brooklyn, more than 700 buildings in Queens and nearly 20 buildings in Staten Island to rent stabilization.

Commissioner of New York State Homes and Community Renewal James S. Rubin said, "We are dedicated to pursuing every opportunity to protect the rights of tenants. The Office of Rent Administration and the Governor’s Tenant Protection Unit have taken numerous proactive steps to ensure that the Rent Regulation Law and Code are followed and units are properly registered with the agency. This J-51 Re-registration Initiative is just a small part of that oversight to protect tenants and ensure that landlords follow the law."

As part of the initiative, New York Homes and Community Renewal used internal data to identify apartments that have left the rent regulation system while cross referencing those units with those receiving the J-51 tax abatement. Landlords receiving this letter regarding their J-51 abatement have an incentive to re-register voluntarily or face the prospect of treble damages on any overcharge awards granted.

The J-51 Re-Registration Initiative by New York Homes and Community Renewal follows the announcement made in December that the agency's Tenant Protection Unit collaborated with the New York State Attorney General and New York City Housing Preservation and Development to ensure that approximately 200 buildings receiving a 421-a tax break who filed for co-op/condo conversion were properly providing rent regulated leases to their tenants and registering their units with Homes and Community Renewal.

Contact the Governor's Press Office

NYC Press Office: 212.681.4640

Albany Press Office: 518.474.8418