Zero Percent Rent Increase in 2016 Upheld

Image credit: Jeff Hopkins/CityLaw

Landlord’s association challenged the Rent Guidelines Board’s 2016 decision to authorize a zero percent increase for one year leases. On June 27, 2016, the New York City Rent Guidelines Board promulgated the annual guidelines for rent adjustments for rent stabilized apartments. The Board allowed no increase in rent for one year renewal leases and a two percent increase for two year renewals.

The Rent Stabilization Association of NYC filed an article 78 petition on behalf of apartment owners challenging the adjustment. The Association alleged that the Board unlawfully took into consideration tenant affordability. It cited the State rent stabilization law which listed specific factors that the Board may take into consideration. The Association argued that the list was exclusive and that the Board had acted unlawfully and ultra vires when it took into consideration tenant affordability, a factor not specifically listed in the statute.

New York County Supreme Court Justice Debra A. James rejected the argument and upheld the Board’s zero increase decision. Judge James held that earlier Court of Appeals decisions had indicated that the Board could when setting rents take into account the effect rent policy would have on tenants’ economic circumstances. She also reasoned that the Board’s longtime consideration of affordability as a factor indicated that nothing in the rent stabilization law prohibited consideration of affordability. Accordingly, Judge James dismissed the Association’s petition.

Rent Stabilization Ass’n of NYC v. NYC Rent Guidelines Board, 49 N.Y.S.3d 878 (Sup. Ct N.Y. Cty 2017).

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