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Can you reduce the number of rent-controlled tenants you have?

Rent control in New York City can make a huge difference in the income you're able to make off your property. While the program is meant to keep rent prices high enough to cover utility and maintenance costs, it's not likely to compare to the market value you could be making on the property.

If you've acquired a property with rent-controlled tenants, check these things to make sure they're entitled to the cost they pay.

Double-check their length of tenancy

If your tenants have not been living in the unit continuously since July 1, 1971, they are not entitled to controlled rent. In units within a single or double family home, the tenants must have lived in the unit continuously since March 31, 1953.

An exception to this rule is if a qualifying family member has succeeded a qualifying tenancy.

How old is the unit?

Rent control does not apply to units built after 1947.

When can a unit become decontrolled?

In smaller apartment buildings that have less than six units, a unit loses its status as rent-controlled once it becomes vacant. The same applies to units in single or double family houses.

Otherwise, a rent-controlled unit that is vacant would become "rent stabilized" and follow the according standards.

When can a landlord increase controlled rent?

A landlord has the opportunity to increase a controlled rent by 7.5 percent every two years unless the Maximum Base Rent has been reached. The Maximum Base Rent for New York City is re-examined every two years.

Use a lawyer's help to face tenant challenges

If you do not follow through on the standard regulations that rent-control imposes or are challenged by a tenant after attempting to increase a controlled rent, consult with a skilled real estate lawyer to learn more about your options.

An attorney can help you understand your rights within the context of the situation and advise on whether your tenant's challenge is legitimate.

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