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Presents:
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
Everything You Wanted to Know about
Rent Protections, but Didn’t Know Who to
Ask
What is covered under Hoboken’s
Rent Control Ordinance vs. State
Law?
RENT CONTROL
 Yearly Increases
 Legal Base Rent
 Overcharges
 Surcharges:
Tax/Water/Capital
Improvement
 Vacancy Decontrol
STATE LAW
 Displacement
 Condo
conversion/protected
tenant status
 Lease disputes
(outside of sections
addressed in
Hoboken’s rent
control laws)
2
What properties are covered under
Hoboken’s Rent Control laws?
 Any residential property built before 1987 (including
single-family houses and condos.)
 Any residential property with less than 4 rental units
regardless of when it was built.
 Any pre-1987 condo dwelling.
 Any post-1987 building that didn’t file a rent control
exemption.*
* There is some question as to whether buildings built as rental
properties that didn’t file an exemption are covered)
3
What properties are not covered
under Hoboken’s Rent Control laws?
 Commercial/Retail establishments.
 Post-1987 buildings with more than 3 units that
filed an exemption.
 Housing authorities, HUD developments.
 Properties under a government sponsored
affordable housing program.
 Factory/Industrial properties (even if converted to
rentals).
4
What protections do tenants have
under Hoboken’s Rent Control laws?
PAY ATTENTION
THIS IS VERY
IMPORTANT
5
Unless You Stand Up For Yourself
You Have No Protections
Hoboken Administers its Ordinance Reactively
6
But seriously….
7
Q: What rights do you have if you stand up for yourself?
A: To pay only the legally allowed rent
 You have a right to be charged no more than the legal
rent allowed on your apartment.
 You have a right to get a legal rent calculation that
determines what that is.
 If you discover you have been overcharged, you have
a right to have the rent lowered.
 You have a right to a refund of up to 2 years over
payments.*
 You have the right to appeal a legal rent calculation
and to defend a legal rent calculation if it is appealed
by the landlord.
*The maximum number of years for which you can receive a refund of overpayments is 2 years.
If you received and signed a disclosure form (see sample) when you moved in, you can only file
in the first 2 years that you live in the unit. If you did not receive a disclosure form you can file
for the most recent 2 years you’ve lived in the apartment. If you vacate your apartment, you can
file for a rent refund for two years up until two years after you have vacated the unit.
8
What is a legal rent calculation &
how do you get one?
 A legal rent calculation (LRC) is a determination
made by the city’s rent leveling officer when a
tenant files for the calculation.
 When a landlord files for this determination it is
called a legal rent update.
 The cost to file: $20.
 Any determination can be appealed to the rent
leveling board by either party.
 Note: Your landlord is always notified when you
file an LRC.
9
Filing an OPRA
It’s less complicated than you might think
Or, Google “Hoboken OPRA”11
Digital copies are free of charge!
12
13
Then there’s that thing that sends
shudders down a landlord’s spine…
Treble
Damages
14
15
There are two types of surcharges
What is a Surcharge?
Tax/Water Surcharge
 What is a Tax/Water Surcharge?
 The difference between the taxes in 1988 & today with a
couple of exceptions:
o 1) If you live in a condo conversion – it is the difference
between the first tax year after the conversion & today.
o 2) If the unit was given a hardship increase and taxes
were included in the calculation – it is the difference
between the year of the hardship increase and today.
o 3) If your unit was subject to a 1-time full vacancy
decontrol for an O/O condo – it is the difference
between the year the vacancy decontrol was granted
and today.
17
Things to know about the tax/water
surcharge
 It is good for 12 months and then must come off.
 It can, however, be re-filed for each year.
 It is not part of your base rent for the purposes of
any yearly increase.
 Your landlord must notify you of the surcharge.
 Your landlord can file for a tax surcharge at any
time; it doesn’t have to be at the time you take up
residency or at the time you get your yearly
increase.
 It’s automatic if your landlord applies for it.
18
Capital Improvement Surcharge
 What is a Capital Improvement Surcharge?
 If your landlord makes a capital improvement to
your apartment and/or the building, the landlord can
file to recoup the cost from the tenants over time.
 Capital Improvements are heard at the rent leveling
board.
 You must be notified that the landlord has filed and
you should attend the hearing.
 The amount of the surcharge and the length of time
is determined by the rent leveling board.
19
Things to know about the capital
improvement surcharge
 It is not part of the base rent for the purposes of
your yearly rent increases.
 The maximum amount that it can be is 33.33% of
your monthly rent.
 The surcharge must come off after the term of the
surcharge is completed.
20
Hardship increases are not surcharges
What is a hardship increase?
Hardship Increase
If your landlord is not getting a “reasonable return” on
his/her investment s/he can apply for a permanent
increase in the base rent on your unit. The hardship
is determined by the amount of equity in the
unit/building and the interest on the mortgage on the
building/unit plus annual expenses minus the rent
paid. If the rent does not cover the landlord’s
expenses your rent will be increased by the amount
that isn’t covered plus a reasonable return.
22
Things to know about a hardship
increase
 It is permanent and it is part of your base rent.
 There is no limit on how much a hardship
increase can be.
Pretty Scary, Right?
23
What is The role of the Rent Board &
who are the Rent Board Members?
24
Who to contact about what & why
 A problem in your apartment or building relating to
your safety: The Housing Inspector – 201.420.2041
 A question about rent control: The Rent Leveling
Officer (Suzanne Hetman) – 201.420.2062
 Eviction/Displacement: An attorney (Hoboken Fair
Housing Association members can get referrals)
 For support/advice/non-legal advocacy: Hoboken
Fair Housing Association: 201.589.1892 (free to
members)
 Hoboken also has a tenant attorney on contract for
non-rent control related advise
25
Tips for renters – some odds & ends
 If your lease has a clause that says you can be evicted if
your unit is becoming a condo – cross it out – this
provision is illegal for pre-conversion tenants.
 Check to see if your lease says that the landlord can apply
surcharges at any time.
 If your building is selling & if there are 4 units or more and
your landlord tells you that you have to leave, you don’t.
 If your building sells and the new owner gives you a lease
that says, “no pets” when you already have one – tell the
owner that they don’t have a legal right to tell you to get rid
of your pet.
 If you get a notice that the there will be a hearing by the
rent leveling board about anything relating to your
unit….ATTEND.
26
Most Important Tip:
Join & Support The Hoboken Fair
Housing Association
www.hobokenfairhousing.org
hobokenfairhousing@gmail.com
201.589.1892
27

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HFHA Rent Control Tutorial

  • 1. Presents: KNOW YOUR RIGHTS Everything You Wanted to Know about Rent Protections, but Didn’t Know Who to Ask
  • 2. What is covered under Hoboken’s Rent Control Ordinance vs. State Law? RENT CONTROL  Yearly Increases  Legal Base Rent  Overcharges  Surcharges: Tax/Water/Capital Improvement  Vacancy Decontrol STATE LAW  Displacement  Condo conversion/protected tenant status  Lease disputes (outside of sections addressed in Hoboken’s rent control laws) 2
  • 3. What properties are covered under Hoboken’s Rent Control laws?  Any residential property built before 1987 (including single-family houses and condos.)  Any residential property with less than 4 rental units regardless of when it was built.  Any pre-1987 condo dwelling.  Any post-1987 building that didn’t file a rent control exemption.* * There is some question as to whether buildings built as rental properties that didn’t file an exemption are covered) 3
  • 4. What properties are not covered under Hoboken’s Rent Control laws?  Commercial/Retail establishments.  Post-1987 buildings with more than 3 units that filed an exemption.  Housing authorities, HUD developments.  Properties under a government sponsored affordable housing program.  Factory/Industrial properties (even if converted to rentals). 4
  • 5. What protections do tenants have under Hoboken’s Rent Control laws? PAY ATTENTION THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT 5
  • 6. Unless You Stand Up For Yourself You Have No Protections Hoboken Administers its Ordinance Reactively 6
  • 8. Q: What rights do you have if you stand up for yourself? A: To pay only the legally allowed rent  You have a right to be charged no more than the legal rent allowed on your apartment.  You have a right to get a legal rent calculation that determines what that is.  If you discover you have been overcharged, you have a right to have the rent lowered.  You have a right to a refund of up to 2 years over payments.*  You have the right to appeal a legal rent calculation and to defend a legal rent calculation if it is appealed by the landlord. *The maximum number of years for which you can receive a refund of overpayments is 2 years. If you received and signed a disclosure form (see sample) when you moved in, you can only file in the first 2 years that you live in the unit. If you did not receive a disclosure form you can file for the most recent 2 years you’ve lived in the apartment. If you vacate your apartment, you can file for a rent refund for two years up until two years after you have vacated the unit. 8
  • 9. What is a legal rent calculation & how do you get one?  A legal rent calculation (LRC) is a determination made by the city’s rent leveling officer when a tenant files for the calculation.  When a landlord files for this determination it is called a legal rent update.  The cost to file: $20.  Any determination can be appealed to the rent leveling board by either party.  Note: Your landlord is always notified when you file an LRC. 9
  • 10. Filing an OPRA It’s less complicated than you might think
  • 12. Digital copies are free of charge! 12
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  • 14. Then there’s that thing that sends shudders down a landlord’s spine… Treble Damages 14
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  • 16. There are two types of surcharges What is a Surcharge?
  • 17. Tax/Water Surcharge  What is a Tax/Water Surcharge?  The difference between the taxes in 1988 & today with a couple of exceptions: o 1) If you live in a condo conversion – it is the difference between the first tax year after the conversion & today. o 2) If the unit was given a hardship increase and taxes were included in the calculation – it is the difference between the year of the hardship increase and today. o 3) If your unit was subject to a 1-time full vacancy decontrol for an O/O condo – it is the difference between the year the vacancy decontrol was granted and today. 17
  • 18. Things to know about the tax/water surcharge  It is good for 12 months and then must come off.  It can, however, be re-filed for each year.  It is not part of your base rent for the purposes of any yearly increase.  Your landlord must notify you of the surcharge.  Your landlord can file for a tax surcharge at any time; it doesn’t have to be at the time you take up residency or at the time you get your yearly increase.  It’s automatic if your landlord applies for it. 18
  • 19. Capital Improvement Surcharge  What is a Capital Improvement Surcharge?  If your landlord makes a capital improvement to your apartment and/or the building, the landlord can file to recoup the cost from the tenants over time.  Capital Improvements are heard at the rent leveling board.  You must be notified that the landlord has filed and you should attend the hearing.  The amount of the surcharge and the length of time is determined by the rent leveling board. 19
  • 20. Things to know about the capital improvement surcharge  It is not part of the base rent for the purposes of your yearly rent increases.  The maximum amount that it can be is 33.33% of your monthly rent.  The surcharge must come off after the term of the surcharge is completed. 20
  • 21. Hardship increases are not surcharges What is a hardship increase?
  • 22. Hardship Increase If your landlord is not getting a “reasonable return” on his/her investment s/he can apply for a permanent increase in the base rent on your unit. The hardship is determined by the amount of equity in the unit/building and the interest on the mortgage on the building/unit plus annual expenses minus the rent paid. If the rent does not cover the landlord’s expenses your rent will be increased by the amount that isn’t covered plus a reasonable return. 22
  • 23. Things to know about a hardship increase  It is permanent and it is part of your base rent.  There is no limit on how much a hardship increase can be. Pretty Scary, Right? 23
  • 24. What is The role of the Rent Board & who are the Rent Board Members? 24
  • 25. Who to contact about what & why  A problem in your apartment or building relating to your safety: The Housing Inspector – 201.420.2041  A question about rent control: The Rent Leveling Officer (Suzanne Hetman) – 201.420.2062  Eviction/Displacement: An attorney (Hoboken Fair Housing Association members can get referrals)  For support/advice/non-legal advocacy: Hoboken Fair Housing Association: 201.589.1892 (free to members)  Hoboken also has a tenant attorney on contract for non-rent control related advise 25
  • 26. Tips for renters – some odds & ends  If your lease has a clause that says you can be evicted if your unit is becoming a condo – cross it out – this provision is illegal for pre-conversion tenants.  Check to see if your lease says that the landlord can apply surcharges at any time.  If your building is selling & if there are 4 units or more and your landlord tells you that you have to leave, you don’t.  If your building sells and the new owner gives you a lease that says, “no pets” when you already have one – tell the owner that they don’t have a legal right to tell you to get rid of your pet.  If you get a notice that the there will be a hearing by the rent leveling board about anything relating to your unit….ATTEND. 26
  • 27. Most Important Tip: Join & Support The Hoboken Fair Housing Association www.hobokenfairhousing.org hobokenfairhousing@gmail.com 201.589.1892 27