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 Renewal Leases

    Landlords must offer all tenants in Rent Stabilized apartments a lease renewal for a one or two year term.  The Landlord must give written notice of renewal by mail or personal delivery not more than 150 days and not less than 90 days (3 - 5 months) before the existing lease expires.  The offer to renew the lease for New York City tenants must be on a Renewal Lease Form which includes a section setting forth the legal rent increases.  If the Landlord does not timely offer the renewal lease, the tenant does not have to pay the increase until the first of the next month or the first of the month 90 days after the offer is made, at the tenant's option. (Which option do you think your tenants will choose?)  For tenants outside of New York City, the renewal notice must be sent by certified mail not more than 120 days and not less than 90 days (3 - 4 months) before the existing lease expires.

The Landlord may charge the tenant the Rent Guidelines Board Increase (RGB) based on the length of the renewal lease term selected by the tenant.  The law permits the Landlord to revise the renewal amount during the lease term if the Rent Guidelines rate was not finalized when the tenant signed the lease renewal.  A space appears on the Renewal Lease Form for the owner to either enter the rent increase or check the box indicating that the authorized increase is unknown at this time. The current RGB Increase (for leases commencing 10/1/02 - 9/30/03) is 2% for a 1 year lease renewal and 4% for a 2 year lease renewal. The RGB Increase for leases commencing 10/01/03 through 09/30/04 is 4 1/2% for a 1 year lease renewal and 7 1/2% for a 2 year lease renewal.  Furthermore, if DHCR grants an MCI increase, the Landlord may charge the increase during the term of an existing renewal lease, however, the lease must contain a clause specifically authorizing the owner to do so.  A satisfactory lease clause would provide - "The rent established in this renewal lease may be modified pursuant to an order of DHCR or the Rent Guidelines Board."

All Renewal leases must keep the same terms and conditions as the expiring lease unless a change is necessary to comply with a specific law or regulation.  Those lawful provisions and any other written agreements between the Landlord and the tenant that would alter the expiring lease must be attached to the Renewal Lease Form.  All Lease Renewal Forms must include a copy of the Rent Stabilization Rider.  The Rider explains how the proposed rent was computed and describes the rights and obligations of tenants and Landlords under the Rent Stabilization Law (Everything you don't want tenants to know, but have to tell them).  Additionally, Lease Renewals (in NYC) must contain the new HPD Lead Paint Information pamphlet, a Lead Paint Disclosure form, and should contain a Window Guard Notice, Lead Paint Notice and Recycling leaflet.  If the Landlord did not give the tenant the required Lead Paint booklet (from EPA) with the Vacancy Lease, this is a good time to do so.  Failure to provide the required riders and attachments can subject the Landlord to the loss of Guidelines Increases and fines.

After the renewal offer is made, the tenant has 60 days to accept or to inform the Landlord of their intention to vacate.  If the tenant does not accept within this 60 day period, the Landlord may refuse to renew the lease and may also proceed in court to have the tenant evicted.  (Note: NYC Landlord/Tenant Court has not yet upheld this regulation - instead of evicting a tenant, judges allow them to sign the renewal leases.)

When a tenant signs the Renewal Lease Form and returns it to the Landlord, the Landlord must return a fully executed copy to the tenant within 30 days.  If the Landlord fails to return a copy of the fully executed Renewal Lease Form to the tenant within 30 days of receiving the signed lease from the tenant, the tenant may file a complaint (See Answers to Tenant Complaints).

A Landlord may refuse to renew a lease for many legitimate reasons, including owner occupancy, non-primary residence of tenant, tenant's refusal to sign a renewal lease, non-purchasing tenant in a Co-op or Condo eviction plan, or demolition, however, getting the tenant out of the apartment is another story.  Holdover proceedings to evict a tenant for any of these reasons are usually very expensive ($5,000 or more in legal fees) and take a long, long time.

In order to evict a tenant for owner occupancy, the Landlord must prove that he/she is virtually homeless (in which case, he/she probably can't afford the legal fees - a fact which some judges may consider - "Mr./Ms. Landlord - considering the fact that you can afford to pay your attorney to bring this case, can't you afford to find an apartment at a rent you can afford?").  You cannot evict any tenant that is disabled, a Senior Citizen or has lived in the apartment over 20 years (and who wants to evict the tenant who moved in 3 months ago and pays the highest rent in the building?) and you had better be prepared to actually live in the building for at least 3 years or face stiff fines and penalties from the judge (who probably won't grant the eviction anyway).

DHCRexpert.com prepares Renewal Leases with all required forms, Riders, notices, etc..  We calculate the maximum legal rent, provide you with instructions (where to sign, etc.) and we provide you with a copy for you and for the tenant. Unlike some Lease Renewal services, we double check the information that you give us and question any discrepancies.  We also save all information in your own personal file, for use in future filings, so that you only need to give us the information once.

To Order a Renewal Lease, Write Us.