What is a Rent Stabilization Increase
Rent stabilization occurs in markets where high demand would traditionally create high rental payments. The stabilization keeps prices more affordable so that households outside of the wealthy class can still find a place to live. Rent stabilization increases occur when market conditions change, allowing landlords to raise rents above the controls that were in place for the past rental period.
There are three primary reasons that allow for a rent stabilization increase to occur.
1. The economic conditions of the real estate market for the community have changed, creating higher costs for landlords in property taxes, utility costs, or even government fees that are allowed to be included in rent.
2. Cost of living increases that occur naturally with changing economic circumstances.
3. Any other data that would justify the cost increases a landlord faces to be at least partially passed along to tenants in rent stabilized locations.
This Is Usually a Yearly Review
A rent stabilization increase is generally reviewed once per year to determine if it is necessary and/or beneficial to the rest of the community. Public hearings are often a part of this review process and written testimony from tenants is encouraged. Some communities meet more than once per year to review economic conditions. New York City, for example, has a board that may meet up to 10 times per year. When public input is requested, there is usually a 72 hour notice posted to let tenants testify about rent stabilization and what it means to them.
In many cities, tenants who receive rent stabilization are typically not bound to a lease. This means they are forced to pay the new rates whenever they are allowed to be enforced. Rent stabilization increase orders can be challenged, but there is usually a 4 month window when this can be done. If a challenge occurs, the increase may be delayed. Although some may see a rent stabilization increase as being unfair, this legal process allows landlords to still maintain their profit margins while keeping rental rates at prices that are below what a market may be demanding. Not every rental is protected by rent stabilization, so be sure to ask about what options apply to a property before looking to rent or purchase properties that are within urban centers that participate in programs such as this.
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