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Am I still Rent Stabilized if my Building’s 421-a expired?

Jan 28, 2022

Ethan from Bay Ridge asks:

I’ve been living as a 421A Rent Stabilized tenant here in Brooklyn for the past 16 years. I was the first tenant to move into this apartment after the building was constructed. I just got my lease renewal and was very surprised because it was a whole different format from all my earlier renewals and the rent increase was 12%. I called the management company who told me that the 421A tax break had expired and I am no longer Rent Stabilized.

Can you help me out,


Instructor Michelle Answers:

It depends on which version of 421-a your building was subject to. Given the age of the project, I am going to assume that your building’s 421-a is that type where Rent Stabilization does expire at the end of the tax benefit. But you should not assume anything, you should check with a lawyer. Then the next question is, did your landlord include the correct rider in every one of your renewal leases over the years?

New York Real Property Tax Law (“RPTL”) § 421-a was enacted in 1971 to spur new construction of residential units through a 10-year tax abatement. In return for the tax exemption, landlords needed to submit to Rent Stabilization for the duration of the tax-benefit period, even when a building is constructed after January 1, 1974, and would otherwise be exempt from rent regulation. RPTL § 421-a(2)(f); Gramercy North Associates v. Biderman, 169 A.D.2d 345 [1st Dept 1991], leave to appeal denied, 78 NY2d 863 [1991]. In earlier versions of the program, deregulation may occur upon the expiration of a tenant’s lease after the tax benefits expire, provided the tenant’s initial lease and each renewal thereof contained a notice in at least 12-point type informing the tenant that the unit’s protected status would eventually lapse.

If, however, the landlord did NOT include the correct rider in every one of your lease renewals, then you may be able to remain in the apartment as a Rent Stabilized tenant, with a Rent Stabilized rent, for the rest of your life. You really need to see a lawyer familiar with Rent Stabilization on this one.

Respectfully submitted,

Instructor Michelle Itkowitz