Relates to statutes of limitations based on notices of deregulation.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the administrative code of the city of New York and the emergency tenant protection act of nineteen seventy-four, in relation to the statute of limitations on notices of deregulation
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF THE BILL: The bill will amend the Emergency Tenant Protection Act of 1974 and the Administrative Code of New York City. This bill will provide that the statute of limitations for challenges by a tenant to a high rent decontrol of a rent-regulated apartment is tolled during the time that the notice required by statute is not given in order to decrease the number of rent-regulated units improperly deregulated.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: This bill will:
* Provide that the limitations period for challenging deregulation of a rent-regulated apartment and claim of overcharge is tolled if the landlord fails to file and serve the appropriate notice; and * Apply the sections of the bill to housing accommodations that become vacant on or after the date this bill would become law.
EFFECTS OF PRESENT LAW WHICH THIS BILL WOULD ALTER: The Emergency Tenant Protection Act (EPTA) currently has a four-year statute of limitations for challenging a legal rent. Also, the New York City Administrative Code, §26-516, and EPTA, §12, require owners to keep rent records for four years. This bill adds a new subdivision (c) of Section 26504.2 of the New York City Administrative Code to provide that the periods for the examination of rental history and claims of overcharge and improper deregulation are extended by the period during which the owner does not comply with notice and filing requirements. In addition, it amends the ETPA to set forth requirements for a landlord who seeks to deregulate a unit on grounds that the rent has exceeded the high rent threshold to file a statement with the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) and to notify the tenants, and tolls the statute of limitations during the time the landlord failed to comply with these requirements.
JUSTIFICATION: The rent laws provide for the deregulation of apartments that become vacant with a lawful rent of at least $2,000 per month. Since the right of a tenant to challenge a rent extends only for four years, a claim of "high rent vacancy deregulation," which is predicated on the lawful rent for an apartment reaching the $2,000 per month level becomes unchallengeable after four years. Therefore, an affected tenant must be given notice not only of his or her right to challenge the claim of deregulation, but also of the information necessary to understand the owner's claim and to file a meaningful challenge. Where the owner fails to provide the required notices for high-rent exemption, the most effective
method of ensuring that tenants are given a meaningful opportunity to challenge claims of deregulation and related rent overcharges is to provide that the period to examine the rental history of an accommodation not commence until such notices are provided.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2010: S.5851 (Squadron) - Housing, Construction and Community Development, A.7598 (Jefferies) - Passed Assembly 2009: S.5851 (Squadron) - Rules, A.7598 (Jefferies) - Passed Assembly
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: There will be some modest administrative costs associated with extending the statute of limitations, and with the DHCR maintaining additional records.
EFFECTIVE DATE: Bill would take effect immediately; sections 1 and 2 would apply to housing accommodations that become vacant on or after the date this bill would become law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 57 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 5, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sen. SQUADRON -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Housing, Construction and Community Development AN ACT to amend the administrative code of the city of New York and the emergency tenant protection act of nineteen seventy-four, in relation to the statute of limitations on notices of deregulation THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 26-504.2 of the administrative code of the city of New York is amended by adding a new subdivision c to read as follows: C. NOTWITHSTANDING SECTION 26-516 OF THIS CHAPTER AND SECTION TWO HUNDRED THIRTEEN-A OF THE CIVIL PRACTICE LAW AND RULES, THE PERIODS PROVIDED FOR THEREIN FOR EXAMINATION OF THE RENTAL HISTORY OF THE ACCOM- MODATION FOR THE DETERMINATION OF AN OVERCHARGE AND WHETHER THE ACCOMMO- DATION IS SUBJECT TO THIS LAW ARE EXTENDED BY THE PERIOD DURING WHICH THE OWNER IS NOT IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF SUBDIVISION B OF THIS SECTION. S 2. Paragraph 13 of subdivision a of section 5 of section 4 of chap- ter 576 of the laws of 1974, constituting the emergency tenant protection act of nineteen seventy-four, as amended by chapter 82 of the laws of 2003, is amended to read as follows: (13) (I) any housing accommodation with a legal regulated rent of two thousand dollars or more per month at any time between the effective date of this paragraph and October first, nineteen hundred ninety-three which is or becomes vacant on or after the effective date of this para- graph, or any housing accommodation with a legal regulated rent of two thousand dollars or more per month at any time on or after the effective date of the rent regulation reform act of 1997 which is or becomes vacant on or after the effective date of the rent regulation reform act of 1997. This exclusion shall apply regardless of whether the nextEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD00444-01-1 S. 57 2
tenant in occupancy or any subsequent tenant in occupancy actually is charged or pays less than two thousand dollars a month. Provided howev- er, that this exclusion shall not apply to housing accommodations which became or become subject to this act (a) by virtue of receiving tax benefits pursuant to section four hundred twenty-one-a or four hundred eighty-nine of the real property tax law, except as otherwise provided in subparagraph (i) of paragraph (f) of subdivision two of section four hundred twenty-one-a of the real property tax law, or (b) by virtue of article seven-C of the multiple dwelling law. This paragraph shall not apply, however, to or become effective with respect to housing accommo- dations which the commissioner determines or finds that the landlord or any person acting on his or her behalf, with intent to cause the tenant to vacate, has engaged in any course of conduct (including, but not limited to, interruption or discontinuance of required services) which interfered with or disturbed or was intended to interfere with or disturb the comfort, repose, peace or quiet of the tenant in his or her use or occupancy of the housing accommodations and in connection with such course of conduct, any other general enforcement provision of this act shall also apply. (II) THE OWNER OF ANY HOUSING ACCOMMODATION THAT IS NOT SUBJECT TO THIS ACT PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF SUBPARAGRAPH (I) OF THIS PARA- GRAPH OR PARAGRAPH (N) OF PARAGRAPH 2 OF SECTION 2 OF THE EMERGENCY HOUSING RENT CONTROL LAW SHALL GIVE WRITTEN NOTICE CERTIFIED BY SUCH OWNER TO THE FIRST TENANT OF THAT HOUSING ACCOMMODATION AFTER SUCH HOUS- ING ACCOMMODATION BECOMES EXEMPT FROM THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT OR THE EMERGENCY HOUSING RENT CONTROL LAW. SUCH NOTICE SHALL CONTAIN: THE LAST REGULATED RENT; THE REASON THAT SUCH HOUSING ACCOMMODATION IS NOT SUBJECT TO THIS ACT OR THE EMERGENCY HOUSING RENT CONTROL LAW; A CALCU- LATION OF HOW EITHER THE RENTAL AMOUNT CHARGED WHEN THERE IS NO LEASE OR THE RENTAL AMOUNT PROVIDED FOR IN THE LEASE HAS BEEN DERIVED SO AS TO REACH TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS OR MORE PER MONTH; A STATEMENT THAT THE LAST LEGAL REGULATED RENT OR THE MAXIMUM RENT MAY BE VERIFIED BY THE TENANT BY CONTACTING THE STATE DIVISION OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY RENEWAL, OR ANY SUCCESSOR THERETO; AND THE ADDRESS AND TELEPHONE NUMBER OF SUCH AGENCY, OR ANY SUCCESSOR THERETO. SUCH NOTICE SHALL BE SENT BY CERTIFIED MAIL WITHIN THIRTY DAYS AFTER THE TENANCY COMMENCES OR AFTER THE SIGNING OF THE LEASE BY BOTH PARTIES, WHICHEVER OCCURS FIRST OR SHALL BE DELIV- ERED TO THE TENANT AT THE SIGNING OF THE LEASE. IN ADDITION, THE OWNER SHALL SEND AND CERTIFY TO THE TENANT A COPY OF THE REGISTRATION STATE- MENT FOR SUCH HOUSING ACCOMMODATION FILED WITH THE STATE DIVISION OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY RENEWAL INDICATING THAT SUCH HOUSING ACCOMMODATION BECAME EXEMPT FROM THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT OR THE EMERGENCY HOUSING RENT CONTROL LAW, WHICH FORM SHALL INCLUDE THE LAST REGULATED RENT, AND SHALL BE SENT TO THE TENANT WITHIN THIRTY DAYS AFTER THE TENANCY COMMENCES OR THE FILING OF SUCH REGISTRATION, WHICHEVER OCCURS LATER. (III) NOTWITHSTANDING SECTION TWELVE OF THIS ACT AND SECTION 213-A OF THE CIVIL PRACTICE LAW AND RULES TO THE CONTRARY, THE PERIODS PROVIDED FOR THEREIN FOR EXAMINATION OF THE RENTAL HISTORY OF THE ACCOMMODATION FOR THE DETERMINATION OF AN OVERCHARGE AND WHETHER THE ACCOMMODATION IS SUBJECT TO THIS LAW ARE EXTENDED BY THE PERIOD DURING WHICH THE OWNER IS NOT IN COMPLIANCE WITH REQUIREMENTS OF SUBPARAGRAPH (II) OF THIS PARA- GRAPH. S 3. This act shall take effect immediately provided that: (a) the amendment to section 26-504.2 of the rent stabilization law of nineteen hundred sixty-nine made by section one of this act shall expireS. 57 3
on the same date as such law expires and shall not affect the expiration of such law as provided under section 26-520 of such law; (b) the amendments to section 5 of section 4 of the emergency tenant protection act of nineteen seventy-four made by section two of this act shall expire on the same date as such act expires and shall not affect the expiration of such act as provided in section 17 of chapter 576 of the laws of 1974, as amended; and (c) the provisions of this act shall apply to housing accommodations which became vacant on or after the effective date of this act.