Q: I have been renting an apartment for six years in a Brooklyn 8-unit building. I was not granted a renewal after my original one-year lease expired. In all these years, my rent has never increased, which is remarkable in my trendy neighborhood where I’ve seen friends move out due to rent hikes. This has been an amazing deal, but in the back of my mind, I’ve always been nervous that I have no protection and the landlord could make me leave on a whim. What protections do I have, if any?
A:You have been living in a month-tomonth rental agreement with your landlord since the end of your original lease. This agreement is based on your original lease. If your lease had rules about noise or pets, these rules still apply. You have agreed to extend the agreement for 30 days after your landlord accepts your rent payment each month.
Should your landlord decide to raise your rent by more than 5 percent or ask you to move out, you will be protected by a New York State law that requires landlords to give market-rate tenants notice: 30 days for those who’ve lived in the apartment for less than a year; 60 days for those who’ve been there between one and two years; and 90 days for those who have lived there for two years or longer.
You might be entitled to more protections. David E. Frazer is a lawyer who represents tenants. It is important to find out. The Division of Housing and Community Renewal is the state agency that regulates rent-regulated apartments. Call the rent administration office at 718-739-6400 for information about your rent history or request it online. Mr. Frazer suggested that you consult a lawyer about whatever you find, even if the information doesn’t prove that the apartment is regulated.
If you find that your apartment might be regulated, you don’t need to do anything with that information. Keep it for the possibility of conditions changing. Your landlord sounds like one who is “happy to have tenants who are quiet and happy and well-behaved and the check arrives every month,” Mr. Frazer said. “The problem is people get used to that, and someday they sell, and suddenly you’re at the mercy of the new owners who almost certainly are not going to have the same management business plan.”
If that day comes and you find out that you have the rights to a regulated tenant you can exercise them at that time.
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