We know that New York is a rental mecca. Everywhere you turn there are apartments or other housing for rent, often at very steep prices for the square footage. This brings us to our question. Can your landlord just decide to raise rent every time your lease comes up for renewal? There is not definite yes or no answer to this question. The most factual answer is “it depends.”
Every landlord-tenant relationship is different, as is every lease agreement. For the most part, yes, your landlord may raise rent at the end of your lease period. However, the amount by which it may be raised can vary. If the housing unit is not rent-regulated, meaning rent is solely at the landlord’s discretion, then he or she can raise it at their own discretion. The only law regarding this matter is that you must be provided with at least 30 days notice if the new amount will be more than a 5% increase over the previous one. If the landlord does not intend to renew the lease at all, you must be provided with 60 days notice if you have been renting from 1-2 years, or 90 days notice if you’ve been there at least 2 years.
If the rental unit is rent-stabilized, the landlord must provide notice of option to renew lease at least 90 days prior to its expiration. At that time rent may be raised, but only by an amount determined by the city rather than at the landlord’s discretion. Finally, New York City offers a rent freeze program for disabled people and renters who are 62 or older. Under it, the amount of rent the tenant pays will not change. If rent increases, then the city covers the difference as a property tax credit.
If you feel like your landlord is acting outside the law when it comes to rent increases, consult with an attorney who can help determine if your rights are being violated.