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Guide to Rent Control


How much can my rent be increased each year?

The Ordinance provides that the Rent Stabilization Board each year determines the permissible percentage increase, or Annual General Adjustment (“AGA”), that landlords can raise rents for tenants in regulated rental units. Landlords of rent- controlled units, who are in compliance with the Ordinance may increase rents between July 1 and June 30 of each program year by the amount of the AGA (assuming the tenant’s current rent level is at a previously certified Maximum Allowable Rent, hereinafter “MAR”) after giving a proper 30-day notice to the tenant, as required by State law.

The following are the percentage of rent increases allowed, including all fees for regulated housing services, for each program year since the Ordinance went into effect in August 8, 2010:

July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2016 AGA rent increase of 2.4% allowed

July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016 AGA rent increase of 2.0% allowed


July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015 AGA rent increase of 2.0% allowed

July 1, 2013 – June 30, 2014 AGA rent increase of 2.0% allowed

July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2013 AGA rent increase of 2.4% allowed

                 July 1, 2011 – June 30, 2012 AGA rent increase of 1.4% allowed

          August 8, 2010 – June 30, 2011 AGA of 0% (no increases were allowed)

If rent was increased by more than the percent cited above for any of these program years, tenants may petition for a rent reduction and for a refund for any rent they overpaid, unless the rent increase is to the permissible rent level or MAR, as permitted under State law,1 and the landlord is otherwise in compliance with the Ordinance.

In calculating rent increases, AGAs must be applied to a tenant’s permissible rent level or certified MAR (Do not   include the City’s registration fee of $9.75 when calculating the rent increase).2 The Board adopts the AGA in April to be effective before the program year begins, which runs July 1 through June 30 of that year and a notice sent by the Board advising landlords and tenants of regulated rental units of the AGA is sent in mid-May of the same year. A landlord is eligible to increase rents using AGAs only if the landlord:

  1. Registers all units in the same property with the Rent Stabilization Program; and 
  2. Substantially complies with the Ordinance and any orders or regulations issued or promulgated under the Ordinance, including not charging more than the allowed rent; and
  3. Ensures the rental unit complies with the implied warranty of habitability; and completes all repairs ordered by the City.

Rent increases may not exceed 10% in any 12-month period. Fees paid to a landlord for regulated housing services such as parking or utilities are part of the rent. Any increase in fees for regulated housing services, or any charges for additional services except for the addition of a pet charge that were not included in a tenant’s initial rental agreement, are considered rent increases and must conform to the requirements for raising rents. The addition of a pet charge is not considered a rent increase. The Board does not verify a landlord’s eligibility for annual rent increases. Tenants should monitor rent increases closely and file a petition with the Board, if warranted, to challenge a landlord’s eligibility to raise rents or the propriety of any rent increase.

Landlords may raise rents by a lesser amount than allowed by the AGA or choose not to raise rents by the AGA in any given year, and in that event, they may “bank” the unused AGA for future use to raise a tenant’s rent. 

When can my landlord raise my rent?

A landlord cannot increase rent unless a Certificate of Maximum Allowable Rent has been issued for the current tenant of a regulated unit after a landlord has submitted a Registration Statement. Once a Certificate of Maximum Allowable Rent has been issued, the landlord can raise that tenant’s rent once every 12 months, but not in excess of 10% annually, as long as the unit continues to be properly registered, and the landlord is in substantial compliance with the Ordinance. No rent increases are permitted for tenants within 12 months of initial occupancy.

What does it mean to “bank” an AGA for future rent increases?

Landlords may “bank” for future use an AGA that is not used to raise rent in the program year for which it is authorized. A written notice of banking must be given to the tenant by February 1 in the program year for which an AGA is authorized and will not be used that lists which, if any, authorized AGAs have not been taken. A landlord may not bank more than three AGAs during a tenant’s occupancy. As such, use of banked AGAs to raise a tenant’s rent is limited to the last three AGAs that have been banked.

What is a Certificate of Maximum Allowable Rent?

Beginning in 2011 the Board began issuing Certificates of Maximum Allowable Rent for rental units regulated under the newly adopted Ordinance.  Certificates are only issued upon Initial Registration of a rental unit and upon occupancy by a new tenant; they are not issued every year. Based on information submitted by landlords, the Rent Stabilization Administrator calculates the MAR in the Certificates issued for rental units that have been properly registered with the City. Each Certificate of Maximum Allowable Rent only applies to the tenants in a rental agreement for occupancy of a specific unit address. A tenant cannot be charged rent, including any fees for regulated housing services, above the MAR for the timeframe specified in the Certificate issued for their unit. If a tenant is charged rent above the MAR, they may file a petition (Petition A) to seek a rent reduction and a rebate for overcharges. Depending on the facts of a particular tenancy, rebates may reach as far back as August 2010.

How are Certificates of Maximum Allowable Rents (MARs) determined?

The Rent Stabilization Program Administrator uses formulas for calculating the MAR in Certificates of Maximum Allowable Rent that consider the date the tenant moved into the rental unit, the Adjusted Base Year Rent, and the AGAs allowed since then. The determined Base Year Rent, which for new tenants is the rent at initial occupancy, is adjusted by subtracting any discounts provided to the tenant in the first 12 months, and adding the amount of any regulated housing service fees included in the initial rental agreement. This Adjusted Base Year Rent is then multiplied by any accumulated AGAs since the Base Year. The full chart of the Administrative Formulas for Calculation of the MAR and other documents can be found here. 

What if I disagree with the MAR in the Certificate of Maximum Allowable Rent issued for my unit? 

Landlords and tenants can petition for a hearing to object to the MAR. For example, either party can challenge the accuracy of information reported to the Rent Stabilization Program, which is used to calculate the Maximum Allowable Rent. Objections must be received within 30 days of the issuance of a Certificate of Maximum Allowable Rent; this deadline can be extended to 60 days for good cause. If a timely objection is not filed, the Certificate of Maximum Allowable Rent becomes final unless there is proof of intentional misrepresentation or fraud, or unless a tenant and landlord voluntarily file a joint petition (a “stipulated petition”) seeking a correction.

Can I be charged a City registration fee of $9.75 in addition to my rent?

Owners can, with proper advance 30-day notice, pass on to tenants half of the City’s registration fee for the Rent Stabilization Program. In program years 2011 through 2015, the tenant’s share of this fee is $9.75 per month. Tenants cannot be charged more than this amount or charged this fee retroactively. This fee is not part of the rent or included in the calculation of the MAR or rent increases based on AGAs. The City’s fee is in addition to the rent and helps cover the cost of administering the Ordinance.