Bill S919-2013

Requires rent reduction in cases of submetered utility service

Requires rent reduction in cases of submetered utility service; directs the division of housing and community renewal to develop a standard reduction and an appeals process.

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  • Jan 8, 2014: REFERRED TO HOUSING, CONSTRUCTION AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
  • Jan 9, 2013: REFERRED TO HOUSING, CONSTRUCTION AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S919

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the multiple dwelling law, in relation to rent reduction in cases of submetered utility service

PURPOSE: The bill would require a rent reduction equal to the amount of the additional charge for the utilities for tenants in buildings which convert to submetering of utilities.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: The bill proposes adding a section 302-d to the multiple dwelling law which would, in apartment buildings which convert to submetering, require a rent reduction equal to the additional utility cost, and compel the Department of Housing and Community Renewal to promulgate an appeals' process by which tenants can challenge the amount of the reduction and have it adjusted. Also, within ninety days of the enactment of this legislation, the DHCR must review the rent reductions which have already been made in submetered buildings in order to ensure that they are equal to the amount of the utility charges.

JUSTIFICATION: Many residential apartment buildings in New York include charges for utilities in the rent. However an increasing number of landlords are installing "submeters" which monitor utility use individually for each unit in the building. After the submeters are installed, the landlords charge tenants for utilities in addition to the rent. Under current law, the additional utility charges are accompanied by a rent reduction set by the Division of Housing and Community Renewal. These rent reductions, however, are based on the number of rooms in an apartment and do not reflect the actual utility usage costs of the tenants. This leads to many tenants having to pay more than they had agreed to pay when they signed their lease in order to stay in their apartments after their building converts to submetering.

This bill mandates that the rent reductions which tenants receive after their building is converted must be based on their actual utility costs in order to protect against an increase in the cost of living for tenants. This legislation would also require the DHCR to, within 90 days, review the rent reductions which have already been made, and to modify them, if necessary, in order to bring them in line with tenants' actual costs. The bill would also require the DHCR to create an appeals process by which tenants can challenge their rent reductions.

Currently rent reductions are based on the New York City Housing Vacancy Survey's average monthly costs for utilities. In the Survey, tenants were asked to "estimate" their monthly utility costs. This produced highly questionable data, upon which the DHCR's rent reductions were based.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

2009-2010: Senate & Assembly Referred to Housing, Construction & Community Development 2011-2012: S.2757

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 919 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 9, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sen. SERRANO -- 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 multiple dwelling law, in relation to rent reduction in cases of submetered utility service THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The multiple dwelling law is amended by adding a new section 302-d to read as follows: S 302-D. PROVISIONS RELATING TO MULTIPLE DWELLINGS WITH SUBMETERING. 1. ANY TENANT RESIDING IN A BUILDING WHICH IS SUBJECT TO SUBMETERING OF UTILITIES SHALL RECEIVE A REDUCTION IN RENT WHICH IS EQUAL TO THE AMOUNT OF THE UTILITY COSTS FOR WHICH SUCH TENANT IS RESPONSIBLE, WHERE SUCH COSTS WERE PREVIOUSLY INCLUDED IN SUCH TENANT'S RENT. 2. THE DIVISION OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY RENEWAL SHALL, WITHIN NINETY DAYS OF THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SECTION, REVIEW THE STANDARD AND ACTUAL RENT REDUCTIONS FOR SUBMETERED PROPERTIES AND SHALL REQUIRE INCREASES WHERE THE DIVISION DETERMINES NECESSARY. THE DIVISION SHALL DEVELOP A PROCESS FOR TENANTS TO APPEAL THEIR RENT REDUCTION IF IT DOES NOT ACCURATELY REFLECT THE AMOUNT THEY ARE REQUIRED TO PAY FOR SUBME- TERED UTILITIES. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.

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